In the early 70’s Sensei Mick Bird started the Northants Kempo Karate Kan.
This was a brutal style of "no prisoners" traditional combat karate where only the toughest and most dedicated stayed the course.
The training was hard and punishing and had the aim of producing warriors along the traditional lines of karate with breaking boards and tiles to develop and demonstrate technique. And to instill team spirit and brotherhood.
This was fine in itself but in the mid 80’s several of the senior grades found that they had achieved all they could and wanted to further develop and expand their karate, and thirst for more knowledge, after all this was peacetime. This could not be done under the rigid confines of the club as it was.
This led to Mick Bazylewycz, Steve Kacmerycz and Mark Sessions forming their own club. The Wellingborough Kempo Karate Club as it is known today.
With the majority of the students going to the new club, the Northants Kempo Kan ceased in Wellingborough but continued in Northampton.
The Word "Kempo" means "to borrow" and this is exactly what the new club set about doing. Mick & Steve studied Aikido, Shotokan, Judo, Wado Ryu, Gojo Ryu & Kobujutsu Weapons. All these styles have something to offer, which is encorporated into the Wellingborough Kempo system, making it a more flowing yet hard style of karate. With emphasis of movement in the “one step”
Wellingborough Kempo was one of the first clubs to look at biomechanics and effects of karate on the human body. Especially how children’s bones and muscles develop. This led to the implementation of safe exercises and responsible training.
Practise alone is not indicative of skills acquired, Kempo needed a barometer by which to measure and prove itself as a true martial art and this came when we joined the British All Styles Karate Association headed by Shihan Greg Wallace.
This gave Kempo access to many more styles of karate, martial arts and tournaments.
Almost overnight, Kempo was winning major tournaments, both Kumite and Kata.
Pretty soon the BASKA National Kata and Kumite squads consisted of mainly Kempo students. What also shone through was the Kempo brotherhood and spirit.
The club functioned as a solid team, no individuals. Something that is admired and respected by many clubs.
It was inevitable that Kempo members would be selected by the English Karate Governing Body for the England team. That is an accolade in itself to be recognised by your country’s national coaches.
Over the years the club has been affiliated to B.A.S.K.A, U.S.A, Kozukukai, Butokukai and B.I.K.O
Club Instructors are certified and registered with the EKGB and attend various, coaching, refereeing and first aid courses.
Kempo Practitioners benefit from all the various styles that Mick encorporates, and the courses that are available to them, through association with people like Greg Wallace, Ticky Donovan, Steve Cattle (deceased), Julian Mead, Shihan Masaru Shingai , Master Tomiamo, Harry Cook, Paul Campbell, John Horan (deceased), Derek Ridgeway and many more.
Achievements are many, Kempo has continued to be a successful club with a very high calibre of Karateka with a strong team spirit, inside and out of the Dojo.
Free of political and monetary constraints. Karate comes first!