(TM)©                  Zen-Shoto Karate 

                                                                                                  About the Instructor
                                             Our instructor James Wood has been practicing martial arts since the 50's, starting regular practice  in 1960 at a
                           West London (England) judo class run by the local Education Authority, he soon moved on to Kenshiro Abbe's famous
                                              Abbe School of Budo ("The Hut") near Heathrow Airport.  For the next two years James practiced  Karate
     twice a week and  Judo regularly four times a week, at the Abbe School and also at   Roundwood Park,
                                         Willesden, London  under the direction of Matsutaro Otani.   Otani, who was  already in his seventies by  then, had
                  initially trained in Jujitsu in Japan(and still taught some Jujitsu techniques),  despite his small stature   (somewhere around five feet)  had made a living during his early years in Britain as a fairground  "Japanese wrestler", taking on  all comers . 
       In 1964 the judo section left the Abbe School,  Kenshiro Abbe having  returned to Japan . James decided
to concentrate his martial arts studies on karate.  About that time Mitsusuke   Harada, the first resident Japanese
 karate teacher in Britain who had arrived only the year  before, started teaching at the school once a week. 
Harada had trained personally with Gichin Funakoshi  at the Shotokan then at Funakoshi's home when the Shotokan
 was fire bombed during the second world war, Harada  also practiced at  Waseda University in Tokyo.    
 James continued to practice with Harada for the next fourteen years, up to five times a week. Becoming the national General Secretary to the Karate-Do Shotokai for thirteen years traveling  with Harada and often assisting on the many seminars  he conducted throughout   Britain, and in France. 
James has conducted many seminars  in various parts of Britain and in France. James practiced Zen (which he still does) under the
direction of the late  Taizen  Deshimaru in both London and Paris which continues to have a great influence on his practice
and teaching.  James has also practised Aikido and Kendo.
James has trained as a mediator to resolve supposedly irreconcilable differences between people as an alternative to court.
Mediation is quite different from arbitration where both sides agree before hand to abide by the decision of the arbitrator.
In this mediation no one was allowed a lawer and  iether side or the mediator could decide to end the procedings  if they thought that the mediation was not going well and could kick the whole thing back to court. The mediators job was to get an agreement between the parties that could then be turned a  binding document. Harder sometimes than others. It is the training that struck James. It took place in a room set up like the mediation room, but instead of regular people there were experienced mediators playing the part of of the mediatees. They played thier parts so well and with such reallity that James was totally battle hardened before the first ever reall mediation. It is this experience in how the thorough practice of reality prepared him for the real world that James brings to his teaching.

 James first came to Nova Scotia in 1976 when invited to conduct a seminar at the YMCA in  Halifax.
James avoids titles such as sensei, and prefers to be called by his regular name.
I am very much aware that as a human being,  how I am addressed can not do other than affect my psyche and my own view of myself,
If called by a special title and treated with special reverence it is indeed a very special person who can avoid thinking
of him/herself over the years as somehow better or smarter  than others.  During the fifty four years I have been involved with the martial arts I have seen emormous hubris and hyprocracy. It is for this reason I dislike to be addressed  by any special title"
                                                                                                                                                                James Wood.

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