Matayoshi Kobudo Kodokan International UK Branch Sensei
Sensei Fred Bateman
Sensei Fred Bateman serves as the head representative for the Matayoshi Kobudo Kodokan International Branch in the UK. His journey in martial arts began in 1985 with Anshin Ryu, a style of karate. This martial art style was flourishing in North East England at the time, under the association known as Sentenashi Karate Kosai. During this period, Sensei Bateman received instruction from Keith Bell, holding a 4th Dan rank, and Garry Howlett, holding a 3rd Dan rank.
However, in 1998, after returning from Okinawa, Japan, Sensei Bateman had a change in direction in his Karate. He sought a style that was less sport-oriented and more rooted in the true essence of Budo. His quest led him to discover Kamishin Ryu, a system that resonated with his aspirations. Sensei Bateman embarked on his Kamishin Ryu journey in 1998 under the guidance of Sensei Phil Snewin, who holds a 5th Dan rank.
Driven by a deep passion for martial arts, Sensei Fred Bateman’s journey led him to explore the art of Kobudo. His foray into this world commenced in 1993 when he embarked on the path of Okinawan Kobudo, a system rooted in the Matayoshi style.
The pivotal year of 1998 presented an extraordinary opportunity for him to travel to Okinawa, specifically Naha, where he engaged in intensive training under the guidance of Kaicho Takashi Kinjo, a distinguished 9th Dan practitioner, and also with Sensei Mikio Nishiuchi on the mainland of Japan. It was during this immersive experience in Okinawa that he achieved the rank of 2nd Dan in the Kobudo style he had been studying. This period also introduced Sensei Bateman to Pangai-noon-ryu, also known as Uechi-ryu Karate.
Between the years 1996 and 1998, Sensei Bateman established a Kobudo dojo in Darlington, where he shared his knowledge of this system alongside his Karate practice. He continued this endeavour until an invitation to attend a Matayoshi Kobudo Kodokan Gasshuku in 2007 changed the course of this martial arts journey. At this event, he had the privilege of meeting Sensei Franco Sanguinetti, an accomplished 8th Dan practitioner. Impressed by Sanguinetti Sensei’s teaching and the depth of the Matayoshi system, Sensei Bateman made the decision to affiliate with Sensei Sanguinetti and the global organization of MKKI.
In the following years, Bateman Sensei’s proficiency in the Matayoshi Kobudo Kodokan International system continued to grow. He achieved the rank of Nidan, obtained during the 2011 Gasshuku. His deepening knowledge and experience were the results of consistent training with Sanguinetti Sensei and other esteemed instructors from the MKKI.
At the conclusion of the MKKI UK Branch’s 10th Annual Gasshuku in 2015, Bateman Sensei earned the rank of Sandan. Subsequently, he aspired to travel to Okinawa in 2020 to participate in the annual Gasshuku there and to pursue his Yondan rank. Regrettably, the global Covid-19 pandemic disrupted these plans. Nevertheless, the uplifting news is that he successfully attained his Yondan rank in 2023 at the Honbu Dojo in San Diego, USA. With the goal of returning with more students in 2024, he continues to advance in his martial arts journey.