A Brief History

SANSHIROKWAI DOJO BRIEF HISTORY

1958: 16 Springfields Terrace, Bwlch y Gwynt
 

This early construction of the Sanshirokwai Dojo, was little more that a shed in the back yard. There were some aspects to this early construction however that are very important, mainly that the top and one side was completely open to the elements. In the summer months this airy construction was very much appreciated, considering the oven like conditions inside the corrugated steel sheet building.

If you consider that 'Bwlch y Gwynt' literally translates into ‘Windy Gap' you will appreciate what the training conditions were like during the winter period. However the winter months, mat space was little more that 12ft x 12ft and bruised feet, repeated impact with the side of the shed was a frequent source of pain and injury for those practicing.

The mat area was constructed from a bed of sawdust covered by a white sheet, and held down by weight lifting rings at each corner. In the winter months the provision of lighting came from a paraffin storm lamp, which was held aloft in turn by a third person standing at the side of the mat. But none of these handicaps were to deter those early pioneers, for this was the early beginning of the home of Sanshirokwai.


 

1962: Anne Street, Wern, Llanelli

As student numbers continued to increase, Steadman came to realise that a more spacious premises would be required, as they were out growing Springfield Terrace. By chance one day Steadman was passing the old ‘Saloam Chapel' in Anne Street, near Llanelli town centre. What a mess it was!! It had long been abandoned by the previous occupant, a ‘Television Aerial Installation Company', and the present owners were the ‘Communist Party'.

Steadman was to discover that the owners had already received offers of rent two or three times higher than his own limit of affordability.But not being deterred and after relaying his intended use for the building, he successfully acquired the lease for a fraction of the cost, and set about adapting the building for Martial Arts Training.

The Judo players that received their instruction from Steadman at Anne Street also gained many notable Welsh and British Medal successes. It was also here at Anne Street that Aikido started in earnest and has since grown from strength to strength.

Once again, it soon became evident that they were out growing ‘Anne Street’ and new premises would be required. And somehow amazingly at this point Steadman found the site at ‘Old Castle Road '.


 

Dojo1974: Sanshirokwai, Old Castle Road , Llanelli

With the new Dojo came success and in March 1976 the first Annual Sanshirokwai Display was given in the Market Hall, Llanelli. The programme consisted of a wide range of Martial Arts, and even compared to today's offerings'; would be an ambitious undertaking for any other Judo or Aikido Club in the UK.

The construction of the new ‘Dojo’, in Castle Road would be the biggest undertaking yet!!! Which could only be described as a ‘Fairytale', which started as Steadman's vision and later became reality only through his immense dedication and perseverance.