Above: Sifu David Keegan (pictured kneeling third from left) on a 2013 seminar with Sifu Steve Rowe who studied Yang style Tai Chi directly with the family grandmaster Ma Lee Yang. Also attending this seminar were Shihan Handyside 8th Dan, Master Alfie Lewis 9th Dan and Bushinkai instructors Simon Keegan, Ben Gaunt and Graham Winstanley.
Above: Sifu David Keegan in around 2003 performing Yang style Chinese sword at the Euro Championships in front of dignitaries such as the Mayor of Shanghai and Li family Tai Chi master Li Hui.
Above: Sifu teaching Tai Chi to a range of martial artists on a national seminar in Sheffield, including Karate, Judo, Aikido, Taekwondo, Muay Thai fighters and MMA competitors (note the grapplers in the background).
Sifu David Keegan: Training Biography
Dave was born in the Year of the Metal Tiger and grew up in the 1950s in Liverpool, one of the first places in the UK to have Jujutsu schools - mainly because as a seaport it has always attracted immigration from far and wide. Liverpool also has the oldest Chinatown in Europe.At school Dave studied Jujutsu/Judo with a local instructor named Bernie Blundell, older brother of the famous Jim Blundell, and was in the same class as legendary boxer John Conteh.
In the 1960s he became interested in the art of Bartitsu, a Jujutsu style founded in the 1880s (based on Shinden Fudo Ryu) which gained some degree of fame as the fighting method of Sherlock Holmes. He also became interested in the Chinese philosophies of the I-Ching, Pa Kua and Tao Te Ching, making his own translations of original Chinese texts.
Liverpool had Britain's second ever Karate club (the first being the Yoseikan in Essex) which was the Red Triangle. The club was presided over by Keinosuke Enoeda and run by Andy Sherry. One of Dave's friends was a blackbelt instructor at the club and they used to train together. The Red Triangle were renowned for their early morning training sessions and could often be seen running around Sefton Park.
In the 1970s Dave became a rifleman in the Duke of Lancaster's Own cavalry, parading before The Queen (who is also colonel of that regiment in her capacity of Duke of Lancaster) and rising to the rank of Corporal.
Dave's son Simon was born in 1979, and would become a martial artist himself and is currently chief instructor of Bushinkai.
In 1988 Dave and his friend John Barrie travelled to China where they worked in Ghuangzhou, Hong Kong and also Bangkok.
John was a blackbelt in Karate training under Asano, Enoeda and others in the northeast in the 1960s. While there they saw firsthand the martial art that would become Dave's passion - Tai Chi. John is married to a Yang style Tai Chi practitioner called Mei Kwan.
Working and living in China in the mid 1980s gave Dave a true flavour of Chinese culture - its history, its martial arts and its food and its business practices.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s Dave encouraged his son's love of martial arts and Simon took up Karate and around the same time Dave joined a Tai Chi school.
Dave, Simon, and many of the familiar faces that train together today like Barbara, Carol, Kath and Alan all began training together back in 1998 - after thirteen years ago the group of friends are as close as ever.
Training under a local Tai Chi teacher, they studied Yang style, Sun style, Chinese sword and Hsing-I and were afforded the privilege of training with Chinese national living treasure Prof Li De Yin, a true Tai Chi master, as well as another master named Zhang Xiu Mu.
Dave also competed at the Euro championships and was presented a trophy by the mayor of Shanghai.
In 2004 Dave began training in the classical Japanese art of Iai Jutsu with the ancient school Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. He trained and graded with several teachers and masters including masters Tose, Yoshida and Hara.
Dave was invited to join Kokusai Budoin (IMAF), Japan's oldest martial arts fraternity founded in 1952, where he was the first ever Tai Chi (or Kung Fu) teacher to have grades recognised by the group. He was awarded the entry grade of 2nd Dan, recognised by the Chief Director Shizuya Sato 10th Dan.
For the most part Tai Chi is not taken seriously as a martial art by many Budo instructors. Dave set about changing this, as many senior teachers of Jujutsu, Aikido and Karate flocked to learn the art from him. He became good friends with Reiner Parsons, a Karate instructor who also studied Kung Fu and Chi Kung under Japanese master Tadanori Nobetsu who is also a master of white crane Kung Fu. Reiner graded Dave to 3rd Dan.
Another good friend of Dave's is senior Karate teacher Bob Carruthers (7th Dan). Dave and Bob trained together as senior students in Iaido and exchanged techniques between their Tai Chi and Karate expertise. Bob, who has trained and graded all over the world with many different masters was on the panel that awarded Dave his 4th Dan.
Dave also studied Iaido with Hanshi Allan Tattersall, UK Director of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, who, on the 15th anniversary of TEMAA awarded Dave a handpainted Shogo on gold leaf paper from Japan reading "Bu" (martial).
After looking outside the limitations of his original Tai Chi training Dave has added other training methods to his repertoire. Training in Ayengar Yoga gave him an appreciation of stretching and posture - and he has also studied more "hard" Chi Kung exercises including Shaolin as well as the Ba Duan Jin.
Again training with his good friend Bob Carruthers, Dave has begun to learn the classical Filipino art of Abaniko Tres Puntas, also attending a stickfighting seminar with grandmasters Rene Tongson and Angelo Baldisonne.
Today, as principal of the Metal Tiger Academy and technical director for Chinese martial arts within the governing body, Dave has a rich variety of skills and experiences to share.
Dave teaches in Appley Bridge on Friday nights and Upholland on Thursday nights. For more information email: email@example.com
Below: Dave performing Chinese sword at Alfie Lewis fight night in Liverpool.