A Glimpse Back in Time - - - 50 years - - -

This year is rather special to me because:
• 50 years have passed since I became interested, fascinated. involved in the Asian Martial Arts known as Budo and Wushu.

• The karate dojo started 1957 in Taradale, Napier, New Zealand with the original members - Ray Fredriksen, Paul von Stroheim, Ken McLennan, Fred Coulter, David Moyes, Gordon Larkins and myself, known as the Napier Karate club still exists today but at a different address, and now trains Goju Ryu karate affiliated to Sensei Morio Higoanna.

• YOSHINKEN will be officially 5 years old this summer.

• My friendship and budo commitment with my very good friend and brother in the martial arts - Sensei Jan Kallenbach will soon cover 40 years of regular and considerable varied experiences.

• First contact with Sensei Yoshimichi Sato made at the Kyokushinkai Honbu Dojo in 1965.

From the New Zealanders I began training with I am the only one still active today, although I still have a good contact with Ken McLennan, Fred Coulter and my oldest NZ “mate” Paul von Stroheim. Yoshinken is the result of these 50 years and very closely involved in the foundation were Sensei Jan Kallenbach and Sensei Yoshimichi Sato who I am proud to have such dedicated budo friends, they have been a continual source of inspiration.

Special sensei who I have met and had opportunity to train with should be named:

Soshi Kenichi Sawai: Jujutsu-Iaijutsu-Kenjutsu-Judo –Taiki Shisei Kenpo
Sosai Masutatsu Oyama: Korean Kenpo-Judo-Shotokan-Goju karate - Kyokushinkai
Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura: Kyokushinkai –Kobudo - Seido Jukkyu Karate
Sensei Arthur Koji Hisatake: Kyokushinkai
Sensei Donn Draeger: Jujutsu -Judo -Karate -Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo -Katori Shinto Ryu
Hanshi Steve Arneil: Judo-Boxing-Kenpo – Kyokushinkai – IFK
Sensei Norimasa Iwama: Karate-Shorinryu-Taikiken
Sensei Pascal Krieger: Judo-Iaido-Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo
Sifu Cui Rui Bin: Wushu - Yiquan
Sifu Dao Siming: Wushu - Yiquan
Sifu Li Jian Yu: Wushu - Yiquan

I must also mention another good friend in Budo and dedicated Karate master – Shihan Ingo De Jong Goju Kai who I have enjoyed every meeting with him since he and his partner Ann came to Sweden in the early 1970´s.

There are so many styles, organizations, within the martial arts, many are very unique in their own special way but this is due to those who are and have been the practitioners, so this is why I think of first of the person and then of the ryu, style, or organization they represent. More often than not these sensei/sifu have been very much involved in two or more other disciplines, and probably this contact has formed their final choice to where their development and future lies.

One notable exception to this is Shihan Risuke Otake of Shinden Katori Shinto Ryu who belongs to a long tradition of masters in this ryu who have trained all their lives in this Cultural Treasure of Japan I met Sensei Otake through Sensei Donn Draeger, both these sensei were of the highest caliber a budoka could hope to meet.

My point being, to be an all-round budoka you should meet-listen-train with respected sensei/sifu in other systems whenever possible not so much as to leave your chosen art but to see what you are doing and where are you going in your budo.

“Do not be afraid to go outside your own house”
“Challenge yourself - do not become too comfortable “
“To experience enlightenment and inspiration throughout life you must travel in mind and body “

I have even read that some masters have even opened their door to let their chosen student leave
to gain experience in all ways, to prove himself, to test what he has learned to date, does he believe in what he has done and where does the path lead to now ? I have not seen this in reality, and have difficulty in seeing the dojo´s of today encouraging members to walk out – but – there is a lot of sense in the idea. (apart from the economic side of course).

Karate has grown and changed immensely over these 50 years, and I see this with mixed feelings
competition has been one of the major influences, gradings are another, and ego the third.
When I came to Sweden in 1968 there were very few who had even heard of karate let alone trained, my co-operation with Sensei Attila Meszaros was an extremely interesting, and enjoyable time in
introducing Kyokushinkai karate, building SKK, the entry into the SBF, national and international tournaments, and training camps. My 5 years as the first Team Manager/Coach for the SBF Karatesektionen were also a good challenge and a most interesting time when all-style tournament karate was starting, and an experience I’m glad I had the chance to be a part of.

My first generation of students including Karl-Henrik Robért, Gerard Versteegh, Bertil & Göran
Friberg, Henrik Forss, Thomas Sonnenfeldt, Christer Lagergren, went on to be very successful in their chosen careers, after several of them placing highest in the karate tournaments of their time, but unfortunately active budo is not on their programme today. At the same time I am very happy that budo karate has given some strength and perspective for the rest of their lives.

When I think of how it all started in Napier NZ I was very fortunate in having the “right people “
with me, Paul von Stroheim ( photographer and former NZ weightlifting champion ) saw karate for the first time when a group from a Japanese naval ship visit to Sydney , Australia gave a demonstration, this inspiring action was transferred over to us when Paul came back to NZ and contact was made with Ray Fredriksen a school teacher who was a Shodan judoka guided us into the Japanese fighting arts through his knowledge in judo, Ken McLennan was the local traffic police officer, Fred Coulter was the local postmaster, and Gordon Larking radio /stereo sales and service shop owner ( incidentally Gordon had only one leg having lost the other in a motorbike accident ) but he was really effective in free fighting !! this proved to be a very dedicated and sincere group. We took contact around the country with any karate club that was interested to meet us – Kumite (free-fighting) was the main objective –no referee, we continued until one gave up – very simple rules, no attack to the eyes or the groin.

We later visited all Japanese ships which came to Napier’s port and through this way we came into contact with several Japanese systems, we bought the only available books written on karate – The Art Of Empty Hand Fighting by Hidetaka Nishiyama and What is Karate by Masutatsu Oyama these became our karate “bibles” and were the basis for our beliefs on how karate should be and lived - we could not have done better as time later showed – both these books are classics in the karate world. The only reason I went to Kyokushinkai karate Honbu Dojo there was an address in the book and a seaman from one of the visiting Japanese boats took contact with Oyama sensei for me and arranged that I could become a Kyokushinkai karateka at Honbu Dojo in Ikebukuro, Tokyo 1965. This was an unbelievable experience for a young 21 year old “Kiwi” from a small town of 20,000 coming to Tokyo’s metropolitan of 10 million inhabitants.

“From a frying pan into the fire “

This became a test in many ways, and only those who have traveled alone to a country with different culture, language, traditions, food, and stay for some time in my case 6 months will understand what the mind and body goes through.




A few memorable experiences in Japan 1965 were the regular evening “keiko” when up to 30 black belts fought us all in a lineup - the karate demonstration at Mr E.Sato then Prime Minister’s residence, I was the only “gaijin” (foreigner) in the group it was held in his beautiful traditional garden complete with fish pond - my first grading which lasted more than 8 hours mainly sitting on the knees – and then required to do fighting! My first visit to the Public Bath House where not knowing the correct procedure I provided much entertainment for the local people - my first serious Kumite with Sensei Nakamura – full contact with practically all techniques allowed. One day no sempai was present and Sosai Oyama told me “You teach now! “ Osu !! Quite a feeling, but somehow it worked out OK. As a passenger in Sosai´s car when he drove was an experience all in itself - it was an English Humber with steering column gear change, I was fascinated that the car could take such forceful driving!! and he loved to listen to the Sumo Basho on the car radio – he seemed to know some of the sumotori and encouraged or degraded them while we traveled in his car. After training every day I stopped at a milkbar by the railway station in Ikebukuro where I drank 5-6 bottles of Coffee Milk much to the amazement of all, so that the guy serving there always reserved “my bottles” for me, watching and applauding every time in English “ You - best customer “

My first Japanese breakfast complete with fried black crickets, some small similarly prepared birds complete with beak and legs, and other items which I had never seen before and never wanted to find out – close the eyes - I ate everything I was so hungry!!
As the saying goes “When in Rome do as the Romans “

Being the host in Sweden for the Bujutsu / Kobudo group tour during summer 1980 when a group of very special sensei from Japan including Shihan Risuke Otake, his son Nobutoshi, and Yutaro Shinozaki from Shinden Katori Shinto Ryu, Kaminoda Sensei from Shindo Muso Ryu,
Sensei Tiki Shewan from USA and the leader for the group Sensei Donn Draeger. All stayed at my house in Skokloster for 2 weeks, gave two 2 hour demonstrations of Bujutsu / Kobudo to a fully packed sport hall in Solna - an experience never witnessed before and never again by these distinguished masters. They also gave training in kobudo, detailed explanations, and even valuation of any swords brought to them from the participants. Their visit was an unforgettable experience, and to get to know them personally away from the dojo – this gave an insight as to what a real budo sensei is. I have a very clear picture of Otake sensei returning from a long walk in a nearby forest with a plastic bag filled with what I thought looked like weeds! he then proceeded to make a most delicious nutritious salad explaining what each “weed” was good for – he had only been in Sweden 4 days!!

Later when I went to Japan/Okinawa/Malaysia in 1981 I invited my former student Michael Söderkvist (now a 5th Dan Shihan in Kyokushinkai) to come with me. Sensei Donn Draeger opened doors in so many ways making this another unique experience. In Okinawa we trained Bo-Sai-Tonfa personally with one of Ryukyu Islands KarateKobudo legends – Sensei Akamine. Michael & I attended the Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo camp in Ipoh, Malaysia when we met all the students of Draeger Sensei, over the years he had built up a very high standard of Jodo amongst the Malaysian Budo and Wushu people.

Michael has done a commendable work in continuing on from me in leading the Swedish Jodo group affiliated to Sensei Pascal Krieger in Switzerland another fine master in Budo and close friend to Draeger Sensei.
Sensei Donn Draeger´s death in October 1982 was a tragedy and terrible loss to the Martial Art community, his position could never be replaced with his knowledge, expertise, humor, & personality but one of his closest students Mr. Hunter “Chip” Armstrong has continued on along the path of his sensei, as has another deshi Sensei Karuna in Malaysia following the teachings in SMR Jodo.

Throughout the majority of these years in Europe & Asia I have immensely enjoyed the brothership and inspiration from Sensei Jan Kallenbach we have enjoyed, trained, sweated, eaten ( we enjoy all types oft cuisine ), studied, filmed, laughed and fought our way around many countries without a single bad word between us, this is quite unique, our bond of friendship is very special. As is our two Brother dojo´s – Shinbuken and Yoshinken encouraged by our dear friend Sensei Yoshimichi Sato.

When I left Stockholm in 1989 for Gothenburg another chapter ended in my Martial Art world leaving Oyama Karate Kai in Solna after 20 years was no easy departure, many memories, many students, many achievements, I had excellent students who became friends away from the dojoa few I have already mentioned earlier, but others who stand out were Kent Wallermo, Lars Erik Lindholm, Roland Brådhe, Sacki & Stylianos Isakidis, Peter Ericsson, Bengt Schubert, Thomas Wiberg, Kenneth Lundin, Christer Gunnarsson, Jan Hallstenson, all contributed to the success of OKK. Four special Kyokushinkai sensei who visited OKK were Sensei Hisatake and his wife Sensei Gudrun, Sensei Steve Arneil (the first to accomplish the 100 man Kumite), and Sensei Jan Kallenbach.

Two special deshi stand out – Lars Sjöberg and Åke Wall. Lars took over the responsibility for OKK and through hard determined efforts has succeeded very well since 1989, and has developed his karate to the level of 3rd Dan Sensei. It was therefore a pleasure to have Lars join me for the special tour to Japan in 2004 to meet several of my Japanese budo friends especially in Taikiken.

Åke is in fact the oldest deshi still training for me, with life experience of a family father and 3 wonderful children, a member of the Solna Judo Club for several years, and a football coach as well, joined me in the foundation of Yoshinken 5 years ago and has been responsible for the Stockholm group he shows great interest, inspiration, and dedication in leading a wonderful group of budoka from a mixed background in the Japanese budo and Chinese Wushu systems.

The journey to China in 1993 was a goal achieved going to the roots of Taikiken, and believed to be the origin and influence to many of the Japanese fighting arts. Master Cui Rui Bin was very kind to me and gave a lot of his time and ” chí “ in explaining Yiquan – even a regular student who helped me as translator told me he had never learnt so much himself as during those few weeks we had together. Sifu Cui was one of Master Yao Zong Zhun´s best students & Master Yao was a brother Boxer to Sawai sensei during his many years in China. Through Master Cui I also had the privilege together with my brother kenpoka Jan Kallenbach to met another well known Yiquan master Dao Si Ming who was one of the top closest students to Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai, this was quite an emotional meeting as Sifu Dao remembered Sawai sensei very well and spoke to us about those years.

The contact with Yiquan masters gave me another dimension in Taikiken and my life and I’m most grateful to Sifu Cui Rui Bin, Sifu Dao Siming and later Sifu Li Jian Yu another special master with unique qualities shown in his expertise in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, special natural healing methods, follower of the Moslem faith as well as one of the very few living personal students to Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai. Master Cui came a few times to Europe and twice to Sweden, Master Li came to France through the initiative of a very good teacher in the Chinese and Japanese
Fighting arts Sensei Jean-Luc Leseuer.

The unforgettable trip to Japan in 2004 I have written with photo’s here on this web site, it could not have been better or maybe just more time to enjoy it further.

Now I am into the Yoshinken chapter of my development and this is as I’ve said before the result of the accumulated years of experience and knowledge, and hope that together with my wonderful students we will enjoy and experience many years at least as rewarding as the ones I have been very fortunate in having so far.

This is a long article but the excuse is ---- 50 years!

Marshall McDonagh




  The beginning of it all - Napier Karate Club dojo. New Zealand Late 1950´s
My first kata demonstration at Honbu
Kyokushinkai Honbu Dojo 1965
Kata demonstration by Sensei Tadashi Nakamura
With Shihan Mas. Oyama December 1965
Winter gashuku
Group meditation before the shrine.
Experiencing the famous waterfall
while Sosai takes kihon
Kyokushinkai Black Belts- Sensei Nakamura
(red jacket) & Sensei Ashihara on my left.

Oyama Karate Kai Ängsgatan 3, Solna, Sweden 1969



Budo demonstration Solna Sporthall 1969 –
Special guests Shihan Arthur Hisatake & Sensei Gudrun Hisatake.


Training at Haga Park in Solna 1969. Kumite with Christer Lagergren

OKK & GKK with Shihan Hisatake and Sensei Meszaros
1969Ängsgatan, Solna. Renovated by the OKK members.
Originally a cinema, then a boxing club before us, today
the dojo is long gone and replaced by apartment buildings.
Sad – this dojo had atmosphere!


Kata Keiko with
K.H Robèrt

SKK Summer Camp with Shihan Steve Arneil, Lerum 1969



Visit from Shihan Yoshimichi Sato 1974



Foundation of the European Kyokushinkai Organisation 1968 attended by Sosai Oyama at Ermelo,
Holland. Photo’s with Shihan Jon Bluming and Sensei Attila Meszaros



Back row: Bertil Friberg – Jan Hallstensson –
Marshall McDonagh
Front row: Göran Friberg – Karl-Henrik Robèrt –
Gerard Versteegh 1974



Oyama Karate Kai Team 3 x Times Swedish
Team Champions (Kamikaze Cup)



Beginners group



Visit and training/demonstration from Sensei Akio Sawai and Sensei Norimasa Iwama,
1974 Shorinryu karate & Taikikenpo



International EKO Camp 1973 Papendal, Holland. OKK members with
Shihan Tadashi Nakamura & Shihan Shigeru Oyama



Demonstration at the BKK Championships London 1974 before the Royal Family
from Jordan & Sosai Mas. Oyama Shihan Nakamura and Shihan Shigeru Oyama




Respected Sensei invited to Oyama Karate Kai


OKK enjoyed the visits from Sensei Steve Arneil 1973 – 1976



Sensei Jan Kallenbach visited OKK dojo many times over the years and was a very popular guest sensei


  Unique Bujutsu / Budo group from Japan invited to Oyama Karate Kai 1981

Distinguished sensei visit from Shinden Katori Shinto
Ryu & Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo arranged through Sensei Donn Draeger. Solna 1980t

OKK started a Jodo section in 1982 with Sensei Christopher Sanmugam from Malaysia who stayed with us for 3 months




  With my Brother in the Arts - Sensei Jan Kallenbach we
covered many countries and experiences together.

OKK Solna 1969 with Sensei Steve Arneil & Attila Meszaros

International Taikiken Gashuku Amsterdam 1991

Training with Sawai Sensei NerimaDojo, Japan 1976

SMR Jodo Gashuku Le Brassus, Switzerland 1989

Taikiken Gashuku, Amsterdam with Sensei Yoshimichi Sato

China 1993 Meeting Sifu Dao Si Ming








  France – Holland - Sweden