About Ishinryu

A brief history of Karate

The literal translation of karate is “empty hand” which clearly describes its aim as a method of unarmed combat. While karate can trace its origins back through the ancient martial arts of the Far East, karate itself is relatively modern, tracing its origins back to the island of Okinawa in the 19th century. At that time the Japanese occupied Okinawa and the natives were banned from using weapons and karate was developed as an effective means of defence. In the early 20th century karate became established on the Japanese mainland and developed into a number of separate “schools” under their own karate masters. Schools such as Shotokan were established at that time. Following the Second World War and the US occupation of Japan, Westerners started to take an interest in the martial arts. However, it was not until the late 1950’s and early 1960’s that karate clubs started to appear in the UK.

Ticky Donovan OBE and Ishinryu Karate

One of the early students of British Karate in the mid-1960’s was a young East Londoner named David ‘Ticky’ Donovan. Under visiting Japanese masters, Ticky trained in the Shotokan, Kyokushinkai and Wado ryu styles. Into the 1970’s Ticky won many competitions and became British Karate champion on three occasions in 1973, 1974 and 1975. In 1973 Ticky formed his own school of Ishinryu (translates literally as ‘all of one heart’). Originally based in and around East London and Essex where this style still thrives, Ishinryu has spread far from these roots and is now also taught in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Following his successful fighting career Ticky went on to coach the England karate squad to international victories, winning the World championships five times in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1991 Ticky was awarded the OBE for his services to English Karate.

Ticky Donovan is currently a 9th Dan and continues to play an active role in English karate as well as running the style he originated – Ishinryu.