London in the early 70s saw a sudden growth in the martial arts due to the Bruce Lee influence.
Growing up as a foreigner in London’s East End, martial arts training were not considered entirely for its use on forging character and discipline, but for its extensive use in self defence.
Such was the case for Steve Joseph who began his martial arts training at the age of 10 due to constant bullying at school.
At the age of twelve he became totally immerse in Martial Arts training causing a lack of devotion in studies with absence from school lessons that resulted in practice session held in the toilets.
At lunch breaks in a deserted classroom practice would commence with friends eager to study after watching the current trend of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies.
He Consumed his lunch break period through practice, resulting in financing his martial arts class that his parents could not afford.
A journey to the Dojo followed directly after school and after class it was common for Steve to travel from one Dojo to another directly afterwards, completing two classes in different locations in one evening.
At one particular karate school held in Chingford Essex, taunts by local “skin head” gang members erupted and were continuous as they frequently visited the Dojo yelling racist Nazi terms whilst hurtling object at the dojo’s door and window.
Frequently after training Steve was chased by gang members but which never once caused a lack of discouragement or deterence from contining in his martial arts training.
After one particular training session a rather furious lesson on “Kumite” (Sparring) took place between instructor and student resulting in a knee injury to Steve’s right leg.
Struggling to walk and knowing the regular occurrence at every training lessons end, Steve decided to wait in the Dojo’s changing room. Keeping out of sight from the caretaker who locked and foresee final security checks, he considered everyone gone and climbed out from a window and began the journey home.
Unknowingly gang members were present and Steve was chased and caught upon.
A violent encounter followed where he fought back using the knowledge of his martial arts training. The encounter roughly 2 minutes in duration came to an abrupt end when an elderly lady screamed from her window to end the violence and threatened to call the Police.
Steve Joseph sustained heavily injuries to his ribs, bruises on his head and arms and a black eye.
Skin head gang members were 11 in total age between 20 and 25. Steve Joseph was 13 years old.
For the love of martial arts he told his family that the bruises were sustained in class.
Analysing the attack, he concluded that the styles he studied were limited in their application and approach.
He thought if he knew how to lock, box, low kick, throw and apply the use of other techniques he would have been better prepared and equipped to handle the situation.
Disillusioned he proceeded to and extensively study various Martial Arts disciplines.
After gaining black belts in 6 different forms, he combined the styles into what he believed as a realistic method of Self Defence.
He furthermore competed in professional boxing, kickboxing and Martial Arts bouts adding fuel to his knowledge.
He had an array of techniques from diverse backgrounds in various martial arts systems. Through trial and error techniques were structured and hundreds of diagrams were sketched. He formulated a syllabus then up to 3rd Dan.
It was not his intention to label what he created as a style but his own personal method of self defence.
From the advice of an Oriental training partner and best friend his method had to be given a name.
Since it was not traditional and formulated in the 70s, he possessed something new.
It was labelled in the Chinese Cantonese as ‘Sun Kune Do’. ‘Sun’ meaning New ‘Kune’ meaning Fist ‘Do’ meaning Way.
A complete rounded translation would be Modern Fist Way.
At the age of 20 years he established his first Dojo in London’s East End. Steve and students gave spectacular demonstrations in various martial arts tournaments and university open days.
Its method of combining techniques from various forms attracted martial arts practitioners and the public alike with a huge following and popularity in females.
Sun Kune Do was introduced to the public in 1984 as a Mix Martial Art form and continues its instruction in traditional martial arts clothing and disciplinary rules on respect and honour. Due to its involvement as Mix Martial Arts system it is not to be confused with the barbaric sporting Mix Martial Arts action of such tournaments as UFC and various Cage fighting.
Based on strictly unarmed self defence while maintaining a strong foundation on discipline and respect, its practical methods gain the attention from members of the Metropolitan and Transport Police, Prison Officers and Security Personnel.
The first lesson in Sun Kune Do started in East London in 1984 with a handful of students.
In 1995 the British Sun Kune Do Organisation was created.
Students established Dojos abroad and in 2000 came the formulation of The International Sun Kune Do Organisation.
In 2005 the named given way to the Japanese pronunciation ShinKen-Do
The International ShinKen-Do Organisation now currently has schools in England, Ireland, USA, Africa, The Caribbean and still growing.
In 2006 Steve Joseph was awarded his 6th Dan by the then Governing body BNMAA (British National Martial Arts Association.
Later to be recognised by the AMA (Amateur Martial Association) whom currently recognised the ISO as members.
He is referred to by students as “Keiso” founder.
In Ireland he is referred to as O’Sensei (Great teacher) and to a majority as Master Steve Joseph.
A term that he dislikes as he believes no one is perfect and an individual should never stop practicing and achieving knowledge as the Term”Master” can often mean the end of the Line .
One particular instructor whom he holds the highest of respect, is Master Stan Brown at which he began his study with from the age of 14 years. He honours Stan Brown even today as honoury head of ShinKen-Do.
Never referring to ShinKen-Do as a style but a system or method of self defence it has expanded to become a martial art at which anyone can study as long as the desire to improve good balance in both mind and body, to mutually affirm one another’s value and to benefit society by being as good as possible with one’s training family.