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Minutes of January 1995 CFTS Inaugural Meeting

As we enter our 25th anniversary year I thought it would be nice to share the more interesting parts of the minutes of our inaugural meeting, held in January 1995, attended by the black belts of the day, some of which are still training with us.

“The meeting began with a warm welcome from Sensei’s Calver, Coppen and Kidby who were introduced by Sensei Albone of St Neots Club.

In January of this year, a new Karate Federation emerged, devolved from the long established Traditional Association of Shotokan Karate (TASK). The new federation has had its constitution and membership accepted by the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB) last autumn (1994) and shall be known as the Central Federation of Traditional Shotokan (CFTS). It is constructed of sixteen clubs, formerly part of TASK, distributed across Beds, Bucks, Northants and Cambs with a membership of around 500.

Why CFTS? Although the name is self-explanatory, Sensei Coppen explained it was important to be different from TASK yet reflect our purpose and geographical area. The new organisation will be administered by an executive of three leading Sensei, Andy Kidby, Bernard Coppen and Pete Calver all long standing students of John Van Weenen in TASK. Both Sensei Kidby and Sensei Coppen are 4th Dans and have been training with Van Weenen Sensei for over 20 years whereas Sensei Calver is 3rd Dan. All three instructors felt they had outgrown TASK and that it was time to leave the nest and seek pastures new, and their intended direction in the ‘way’ of karate, lay beyond the constraining limitations which they also felt were too autocratic. They want to develop a more democratic structure, yet must still hold a controlling veto, with their key aims being:-

1 To make training, grading and all associated fees less expensive.

2 To improve the quality of instruction.

3 To be traditional yet progressive.

4 To introduce a more light hearted, friendly, approach both in and out of the dojo.

5 To encourage students to participate in competition both in CFTS and beyond avoiding the parochial attitude of many groups.

6 To introduce CFTS students by way of varied courses to other martial arts & styles of karate without detracting from key essentials of Shotokan karate ideology.

What will CFTS stand for? Sensei Kidby explained that CFTS would be less autocratic with the aim of running a more open friendly association with everyone especially instructors being more approachable.

LICENCES Sensei Calver addressed the meeting regards licences and fees. They would be administered in the same way as in TASK but at a lesser cost yet including a better insurance.

GRADINGS Initially there will be three grading areas making it geographically convenient for all students. Sensei Kidby stated that there would be a slight reduction in grading costs and at the same time fees would be standardised for both juniors and seniors. Intermediate grades for juniors would be retained but only up to Brown belt (3rd Kyu) allowing savings for juniors both before and after that grade. However CFTS would resort to the traditional tagging system rather than students/parents having to purchase a new belt thus making gradings cheaper still. Black belt gradings shall be held twice a year (should it be necessary) one in the East of our area and one in the West. There will be no intermediate black belt for under 16’s and we shall try to phase out the need for them to have a confirmation shodan grading on their 16th birthday in due course. These will make a dramatic savings on the journey for all from white belt to black belt.

COURSES The initial course is to be on Sochin, the CFTS Federation kata, to be instructed by the executive and will be held at Bletchley leisure Centre on a date to be announced. The subject of future courses was discussed with the meeting with varied content including other martial arts and styles of karate. The executive promised themselves to run further courses under the name of Caplenby (taken from using their names of Calver, Coppen and Kidby)

CFTS RULES Other than the obvious rules on etiquette and dojo discipline it was stated that there were only three which in general apply to higher grades.

1 A Dan grade cannot open a club on his/her instructor’s training night.

2 In the name of standardisation and common practice, no club may vary training fees.

3 No member may train outside of the federation without first talking to their instructor.


  • CFTS will be a friendlier, caring karate association.

  • CFTS will have a black belt AGM to allow a platform to voice your thoughts and opinions.

  • CFTS will be more cost-effective.

  • CFTS will have cheaper, better insurance.

  • CFTS will give less expensive courses and gradings.

  • CFTS will host varied courses by visiting instructors.

  • CFTS will strive to improve training standards and enjoyment for all its’ members.

  • CFTS will encourage instructors to qualify as EKGB recognised and approved karate coaches/instructors.

FINALLY Sensei Albone gave a performance of Sochin before closing the meeting and thanking everyone for their attendance. Thanks for attendance were given by the executive for all who attended, To Mr Albone for his demonstration and to Gill Smith for the taking of the minutes.

The meeting closed at 9.40pm”


Having read the above inaugural minutes, have we achieved our aims? I believe so. We hold an annual AGM for black belts and a technical committee meeting too. We in real terms charge less for our licence fees. Grading fees are less than those that were paid before CFTS was formed as now a belt is also included with no charge.

We have held 131 courses and seminars across a wide range of martial arts and karate styles for our mutual pleasure and development. The course fees although we put the price up six years ago are still cheaper than TASK charged all those years ago as our highest grades can testify to. Insurance cover for both instructors and students is better and all instructors hold insurance cover of £10m.

All our black belts are DBS/CRB certificated, 2nd level black belts (Nidan) and above are MASA/City & Guilds qualified and approved karate instructors. We are at one of the first karate associations to come up with policies such as, Mission statements, Equal opportunities, Anti-Bullying, Child protection / Safeguarding, Codes of practice etc. I believe also that, whilst discipline is still paramount in all our dojo, they are a fun place to learn and train.

Long may it be so. Here’s to the next 25 years!

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