Yamashiro Kai

- Shotokan Karate Club -

Training fees and license

Prices correct as of Jan 2017

The first session with the club is free of charge to enable students to experience the way we train and give them a chance to decide if they like Karate.
If students decide to continue a license fee of £16 is required for membership and insurence from The British Karate Association. Each training session costs £5.00 for adults and £3.00 for juniors.

What do I wear to train?

What kind of clothing do I need to bring to train

When first training with the club loose attire is reccomended, tracksuit bottoms and a Tshirt are usually worn. If students continue to train then a Karate Gi (suit) can be obtained through the club.

Club badges available

Embroidered sew on club badges are available

The club badge above is available as a sew on patch from the club instructors or secretary.

What is Karate?

The history of Karate and the development of Shotokan.


About 600 AD, the Indian monk Bodhidharma left his country to spread Buddhism. His travels took him to China where he started to teach the monks of the Shaolin Temple. Bodhidharma developed exercises to improve the monks physical condition and these evolved into a fighting style called Kempo or Shaolin/Chinese boxing.

The Island of Okinawa

In 1609 the island kingdom of Okinawa was invaded by the Japanese Satsuma Clan and all weapons were banned. As a result the native fighting style (te, tode or Okinawa-te) developed as a means of unarmed as well as armed self-defence. Due to strict laws this was practiced in secret. Okinawans also came into contact with other oriental martial systems including kempo (Chinese boxing) and styles from Japan. These fighting methods were introduced to Okinawa through the trading that took place between these countries.

The combat styles were combined to form different styles of te. Three styles were developed around the main towns: Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te. From 1879 Gichin Funakoshi Sensei learned Shuri-te and Naha-te from Yatasune Azato Sensei and Yatasune Itosu Sensei respectively.

They were eventually refined into two styles of karate: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu. Shorei-ryu placed the emphasis on very powerful, but slower techniques as well as body conditioning. Shorin-ryu relied on faster and versatile but less strong attacks and evaison techniques. Funakoshi Sensei combined the ‘best’ aspects of each art into a new style that would later become known as Shotokan ‘Shoto’ or ‘Pine Waves’ being Funakoshi Sensei’s pen-name when writing poetry and ‘Kan’ meaning building or house.

Master Funakoshi in Japan

In 1917 and 1922 Funakoshi Sensei was invited to demonstrate his style of karate in Japan. By 1935 Karate dojos were established at most of the leading Japanese universities and karate was becoming widely practised. In 1936 Funakoshi Sensei established the ‘Shotokan’ in Tokyo, the name of the training hall was created by Funakoshi Sensei's students who called it "Shoto's Hall" eventually this led to the start of the Japan Karate Association in 1955 with Master Funakoshi as Chief Instructor.

Modern Karate

The Shotokan Karate Practiced by students today is quite different to the Karate practiced by Master Funakoshi. His three sons practiced and refined the art, most notable being Yoshitaka who had a major influence on Shotokan Karate, and helped to transform it into its present form.

Yoshitaka insisted on using low stances and long attacks, chained techniques, something that immediately separated it from Okinawan karate. He also emphasized the oi zuki and gyaku zuki. Yoshitaka discovered new leg techniques, Mawashi Geri, Yoko Geri Kekomi, Yoko Geri Keage, Ura Mawashi Geri and Ushiro Geri. All these became part of the already expanding arsenal of the Shotokan style.

The leg techniques were performed with a much higher knee-lift than in previous styles, and the use of the hips emphasized. Other technical developments were the turning of the torso to a half-facing position (hanmi) when blocking and thrusting the rear leg and hips when performing the techniques, the idea being to deliver the attack with the whole of the body.

Contact Yamashiro Kai

Please use the form below to contact the club we will reply as soon as possible

Club History

How Yamashiro Kai was formed and its history.

Yamashiro kai Shotokan Karate Club is situated on the far south western tip of the United Kingdom in a town called Penzance in the county of Cornwall. The Club name “Yamashiro” literally means (Mountain Castle) and is taken from St Michaels Mount, pictured above. The Club was started in 2005 and was originaly a member of S.K.K.I.F. (Shotokan Karate Kanazawa-ryu International Federation) but then moved to The British Karate Association who are affiliated to the English Karate Federation and World Karate Ferderation.
The Club was formed by three Karateka, Instructor Jamie Pilcher (Shodan) at that time, Martin Bailey 10th kyu and Jeremy Bailey 10th kyu. Jamie started training with Penzance Shotokan Karate Club under Sensei Julian Berry in 1990, the Club then moved to St Ives, a seaside town 15 to 20 Miles away from the original location. He was awarded Shodan in 1993 By the British Karate Association to which the original club was affiliated. After training intermittently between 1995 – 1996 Jamie had to stop training for personal reasons. Wanting to continue his journey in Karate, he planned to start a club of his own in the town where he had originally trained and so “Yamashiro Kai” was born with the help of two willing students. As members of S.K.K.I.F. the club went from strength to strength and in 2007 Jamie was awarded his (Nidan) by Sensei Roger Carpenter 7th Dan. In 2010 Jamie was awarded (Sandan) by the world famous Shotokan Master Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th Dan who has always been, and remains an inspiration to all Shotokan Karateka.

Our Instructors

Yamashiro Kai Shotokan Karate Club Instructors.

Sensei Jamie Pilcher

Head Instructor (Sandan) 3rd Dan

 Sensei Pilcher has over 20 years training experience in Shotokan Karate, he places great emphasis on using Kata and its techniques for real self defence development.

Sensei Gavin Cooper

Assistant Instructor (Nidan) 2nd Dan

 Sensei Cooper also has 20 years training experience in Shotokan Karate, his attention to detail in teaching basic technique forms the basis for all training including self defence..

Senpai Heather Black

Junior Instructor (Shodan) 1st Dan

Newly qualified Shodan Senpai Heather Black joins our team as a junior instructor, her determination and love of Karate is aparent in every part of her training.

Senpai Justin Apps

Junior Instructor (Shodan) 1st Dan

Senpai Justin Apps, also joins our team as junior instructor, after 20 years training Senpai Apps is an example of how with spirit, continued hard work, and dedicated training you can achieve anything.

How we teach Karate

What to expect from the training at Yamashiro Kai Karate Club.

The original intent of Karate when it was practiced in The Ryukyu kingdom (now Okinawa) was as an unarmed self defence system to defend your life or those of your family or loved ones from the violent attacks of theives, or individuals who intended harm. Practiced and perfected by royal bodyguards like Bushi Sokon Matsumura, Anko Asato and Anko Itosu (teachers of Gitchen Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni and many other Karate masters) it included a full range of techniques including striking, throwing, arm locks, kicks, joint manipulation and pressure point attacks. All these effective techniques were practised in two man drills over and over until they became second nature to the pratictioner, then coded and recorded into what we now practice as Kata. The result being an encylopedia of the most effective self defence techniques of the time. When Karate was introduced to the Okinawan education system by Itosu, its orginal techniques were too dangerous, and so it was modified for safe practice and used to strengthen childrens bodies and focus. Eventually being exported to mainland Japan, Karate could no longer be taught one on one, or in small groups, so teaching was modified once again, but in its translation, many of the verbal instructions which explained the hidden self defence techniques contained in the Kata were lost, leaving modern day Karate with the dance, but none of the danger.

After spending many years researching the history and development of Karate, and its many changes into its present form, Sensei Jamie Pilcher has made it his long term aim, to ensure that this very important element, is included in the way Karate is taught at Yamashiro Kai, combining the old ways with the new. When you are taught a Kata at our club, you will also learn how to understand and use it to defend yourself, which was Kata's orginal use in days gone by. When confronted in a self defence situation, you would seldom be facing a Karateka in the street, but more likely untrained individuals who do not abide by rules and are intent on harming you, the way we teach and our training style reflects this. Most modern Karate styles are missing this vital part of the puzzle, and only focus on competition sparring with Karate students. If one of your reasons for joining a martial arts club is self defence, make sure your Dojo includes training for it, as Yamashiro Kai does, and use your Karate as it was intended by the ancient Okinawan Masters. 

Club Training Times

Tuesday evenings: Gulval Village Hall 7.00pm - 8.30pm

Thursday evenings: Helston Community Martial Arts Centre 7.00pm - 8.30pm