The idea of forming this new lodge was originated by WBro Robert Eric Michael RANDALL LGR soon after he was initiated into his Mother Lodge – Sackville Lodge No. 7063. He observed, members who shared or had an interest in the same profession, often formed their own Lodges. As a senior instructor in the art of Shotokan Karate, he dreamed of forming a Lodge made up of Brethren interested in martial arts. He shared his idea with WBro John GREEN, who also practised karate and was a member of the Unity and Prudence Lodge No. 4156.
WBro RANDALL started training in 1964 and was graded Shodan (1st Dan) in January 1967 by Master KANAZAWA at the Blackfriars dojo. He is now the highest graded (non-Japanese) Shotokan Instructor in Europe having been awarded the rank of 8th Dan in January 2002 and has written and published several books on Shotokan Karate.
WBro RANDALL had for sometime taught karate in Bedford where he encountered other students and instructors who were also Freemasons. Over a period of several years a number of senior karate instructors supported WBro RANDALL’s idea of forming a Lodge made up primarily, but not exclusively, of those with a strong interest in both Freemasonry and Karate to be based at a central location. It was felt the formation of such a Lodge would enable those with a dual interest to meet more regularly and to foster and further the true spirit that is the guiding principles of both Art and Craft.
In February 2000, Bro Anthony KIRBY and WBro Norman BLOOMFIELD LGR met with RW Bro Rex THORNE OBE, then Deputy Chairman of London Management, to express their wish to form a new Lodge. The positive response given at the meeting was reported to WBro Michael RANDALL who asked WBro John GREEN to act as the organising secretary. Thus was begun the process of setting in motion the formation of a new Lodge under the title of Shotokan Karate Lodge.
The first steering committee took place at Banners Restaurant, 21 Park Road, Crouch End, London N8 on 27th June 2000. Bros RANDALL, GREEN, KIRBY and BLOOMFIELD agreed that WBro RANDALL would be the first Master and that meetings would be held at Freemason’s Hall on the second Saturday in the months of February, April, October and December.
On the 4th September 2000, following several further meetings, WBro John GREEN approached his Mother Lodge Unity and Prudence No. 4156 and requested they act as sponsoring Lodge. This was unanimously accepted and the Petitioner’s Forms, duly completed, were presented to London Management on 10th September 2001. The General Purposes Committee considered the application at a meeting on the 14th November and on the 30th November 2001 WBro John GREEN was officially informed that th MW The Grand Master had been pleased to acede to the prayer of the petitioners and that the Shotokan Karate Lodge could be formed with the given number 9752. The design of the Founder’s Jewel, prepared by WBro Paul HOOLEY PAGDC, LGR, PPSGW(Beds), was also approved.
The objectives of the Lodge are;
- to embrace the principles of Freemasonry in their entirety and
- to practise those principles in the Lodge, karate training centres (dojos) and beyond with the intention of promoting tolerance and respect in environments where kindness and understanding flourish.
The word karate is formed by the joining of two Japanese characters – kara which means ‘empty and te which means hand. Karate is therefore translated literally as empty hand. The ancient oriental art was introduced to Japan in 1922 by Master Gichin FUNAKOSHI, an Okinawan schoolteacher, and to Britain in 1956 by Vernon BELL.
Shotokan is also made up of two words – shoto, the pseudonym of Master FUNAKOSHI and kan which means hall. The literal translation is therefore Hall of Shoto. Shoto means pine waves and FUNAKOSHI chose this name because the rustle of pine leaves at night under a star lit heaven after training alerted him to the deeper, more spiritual aspects of nature, life and The Way of Karate.
The principles and tenets of the Craft ever bear a near affinity to those practised by instructors and students of Shotokan Karate in their dojos and their daily lives. If ever there was a physical and spiritual activity in total harmony with the objectives of Freemasonry then it is surely Shotokan Karate. It is the Founders’ belief that both Art and Craft will be enriched by the formation of this new Lodge that by its very nature will ensure Brotherly love, relief and truth are practiced daily beyond the temple door and in ways that will bring credit to thae movement, the Lodge and its members.