Welcome all Martial Artists

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Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  Ninj on Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:32 am

Hi everyone

I have just set up this forum to give the legend that was Phil Milner the recognition he justly deserves.

Many of you out there will have trained with, or under Phil and I'm sure you'll all have a tale or two to tell. Phil Milner was loved, feared and above all, respected by everyone who came into contact with him. It is such a shame that there is nothing on the internet, apart from the odd sentence or two, that tells of the experiences of training with this Martial Arts legend.

I myself was under Phil's wing from 1984 and I'm sure many more of you go way back further. He was one of the few who introduced Karate into this country. I currently train under two of Phil's old students Arnie Bestwick (10th Dan) and Ken Witham (7th Dan). Two of the Martial Arts true gentlemen and who I have the greatest respect for. Both are very dear friends and I have a great deal to thank them both for.

I've been with Arnie since the beginning and he's simply the best. He's a great friend and mentor and I've learned so much from him, he took myself and my friend Shaun (Shaun Wagstaff) to our Dan graing at Stanley Royd Hospital and never let on what we were in for - swine!! He's a great teacher and one of the nicest men you could wish to meet.

Ken, there's another star. The 'one friendly' face at my Dan gradings and for that I'll be eternally grateful. He's got a great club with black belts and students to match. There's many more I could mention, especially Josh Johnson of the Wakefield Wado Ryu Karate College and that old rogue in Huddersfield...whatsiname??..that's right, the cheeky Dave Allen.

So there's myself Dave Fletcher (another great black belt and friend) and Shaun, under Arnie's watchful wing. You may be thinking "God, this Ninj is 'Great this, great that'". But what Phil Milner taught us all was RESPECT - to all fellow black belts and students - and humility. Two great things to take from the Martial Arts.

So, there you go. I've waffled on enough, please feel free to join up and tell us your Phil Milner story. There'll be many out there who'll get a knot in their stomach at the very mention of his name, you'll laugh, smile, remember the pain, but most of all you'll never forget - the late, great Dai Hanshi, Phil Milner.

As the IBA motto says - "They Can Conquer Who Believe They Can"

Ooooooooos!!


Last edited by Ninj on Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:44 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : amended text)
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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  kiddo on Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:59 pm

courage training anyone? training with phil always had some of this, ouch Mad

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Courage

Post  Admin on Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:29 am

You're not wrong 'kiddo'. Phil always admired courage in people, even if they couldn't manage techniques or exercises, as long as they tried he could tell. But just how did he do that press-up with his legs off the floor???

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Milners Marauders

Post  josh johnson on Thu May 08, 2008 3:57 pm

Well done Dave, I hope that all of Phil Sensei's past and present members of the International Budo Association will join the Forum and recall all the memories they hold of "Milners Marauders".
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Milner's Marauders

Post  Ninj on Fri May 09, 2008 3:20 am

Hi Josh

Thanks for joining! Spread the word and let's get all of you who loved Phil to tell us your tales of pain and fear and at just HOW one man could get hundreds of chatting adults into perfect lines, silent! (Apart from the noise of their knees trembling).

Quite a feat that very few men could achieve. How many of you out there have gone to work on Monday morning after an IB course walking like John Wayne and have had to get downstairs on your backside, as it's the only way you could!

Memories that will never die!

Yours in Budo

Dave
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re Phil Milner

Post  thornton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:56 am

Hi,

Well done in setting this up. Good to see Josh on the site.

Here's some of my memories of Phil. I started training in wado Ryu in Castleford (Irish Nash Working men's Club) in 1969 (aged 12) under John Hall who was a brown belt at the time and travelled from Leeds. Phil would appear every 3 months to grade the club and also to instruct the class.

I remember that I suddenly felt that this was, perhaps, what karate was all about and was definitely the way that the japanese instructors wanted their art taught. As I was only 12 at the time my early memories are more images. These include: bodies flying 20 feet across the floor and into the piano propelled by Phil's back kick; students looking green with fear as they waited to spar with him; bodies being carried off the foor after they'd fainted during the punishing training session.

Phil, the strongest, hardest man I had ever encountered at that time (and to this day) with the presence of a gladiator on the floor and the humility of a Sage off it.

He became my role model for training and subsequently for (further down the years) teaching. Basically, if it wasn't what I thought as being up to Phil's stanards, then I didn't teach it. If pupils couldn't stand the 'Milneresque' pain of a torturous karate lesson, then I wanted them to leave - though they often left without prompting. As a result my classes were small.

Excellent memories of Phil as I know Josh has - and as I also know my older brother has.

I'll be back.

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Phil

Post  Ninj on Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:35 am

Hi Thornton

Thanks for joining, please spread the word. Brought a few chuckles did that, especially the bodies flying across the floor.

We've always taught the 'Phil Way' alas with the 'nanny' culture we live in today you have to be so careful. But it was a great honour and thrill to have been a part of that legend that was Phil.

He truly was an incredible man. I always remember going to the loo about four times on the Fridays he would come to our club and grade - and I wasn't even grading!! Such was the fear and respect he could instill in people.

As you so rightly say he was a killing machine whenever he donned his Gi, but out of it he was a kind, generous and warm - a true gent.

keep the memories coming...
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Phil

Post  thornton on Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:58 am

Hi again,

Yeah, he installed that kind of fear into everyone who trained with him ... basically, you never knew what you were gonna get from him: it could be a night of solid excersise ending with the sparing or a night of sparing ending in solid excerise.

I remember him coming to castleford sometime around '72. It was January and it was cold and snowing outside. This was Phil's oportunity to introduce us to the world of barefoot running in our gi's. So off we all trotted, tagging on behand Phil, for 2 miles in darkened streets in freezing snow; bearing in mind Castleford was a heavy mining town at that time and so there was bits of coal and other crap all over the pavements! And so we ran with screams of 'whooos' and 'arggggghhhs' and we ran with 'whooos' and argghhhhs' coming from the people we passed in a bewildered castleford. Obviously, this only served to confirm all our suspisions at that time: that Milner was, indeed, a nutter! ahahaha. I would follow his lead (or was it madness) in barefoot running and as a result (just after the Bruce Lee boom in 1974) would knock 3/4 of my club membership one Tuesday night after a similar barefoot run through darkened woods and slagheaps. This would become an integral part of our training sessions in the '70s early '80's.

More Milner memories to follow..

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Phil

Post  Ninj on Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:08 am

Hi Thornton

Brrrr, sounds chilly! I remember attending Phil's legendary 'Winter Courses' out in the Peak District in early December. There we were, just in Gi's, however we were allowed to wear trainers (as the terrain was quite treacherous) filing past hikers tooled up to the hilt in winter garb. They looked on in astonishment, I'm sure some of them thought that the local 'asylum' had had a huge breakout.

Press-ups and sit-ups in the icy rivers with just the gi bottoms on was rather 'refreshing' to say the least. It would take about a month for the stains to come out of our gi's and about two days for your testicles to come back down from the warm comfort of your stomach. But, looking back, it was great fun, certainly an experience you would never forget. There was Phil in his Sheffield United bobble hat taking it all in his stride bless him.



That's me on Phil's right and no, that isn't a white gi, after my first time I decided to go 'black'!!
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Phil Milner

Post  thornton on Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:36 am

Ninj,

Hey, what a brilliant photo! What year will that have been? Unfortunately, I don't have any of Phil or his training sessions - so if you, or anyone else, have photos please post them. I'd be interested to see them.

Did anyone go on Phil's 'Ninja Courses?' Apparently, if you passed the weekend course you were automatically upgraded (as long as you were below brown belt - I think). I was too young at the time when I first heard about them.

Here's another memory of Phil. The year was 1973 and the venue was The Lourden's Hotel (not sure of the spelling) in Dinnington where Phil taught a class for many years. It was the summer of that year and both myself and my brother went along to a training session there hosted by Phil and Peter Suzukie (what a combination that was!). I remember bodies being physically dragged off the floor due to fainting in the hot afternoon session. Phil kept closing the windows of the dojo (upstairs in the pub) and people kept dropping. Zuzukie was just a Japanese version of Phil but was more personal and vocal and kept saying to students, things like: 'you a black belt ahahaha' or 'you a brown belt ahahaah' to demoralise them and make them try harder or, indeed, reassess their whole training regimes.

Regards

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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  josh johnson on Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:49 pm

Dear Dave/Ninj,
> Thornton is "Melvyn", younger brother of Pete Thornton who
> took over the running of the Castleford I.B.A. when John Hall moved to
> France in 1975 to teach English. ( John Hall started to teach Daniel
> Blanchet Wado ryu in 1975 and arranged for him to come to England and meet
> Phil ) Both Pete and Melvyn were very good fighters, Pete is now a retired
> Policeman, last heard of living in Spain and Melvyn is still running a small
> club in Castleford and renews his I.B.A. membership intermittently, calls
> into my Dojo occasionally to talk about the old days.
> Regards Josh.
By the way Melvyn/Thornton, your licence is out of date once again!!!.
Please call in and renew it.
Josh.
>
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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  josh johnson on Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:09 pm

My first meeting with Phil Milner was in early 1967 when he came to our little Dojo in Wakefield at St Mary’s Schoolrooms, at that time our Instructor was Dave Lowe 1st Kyu a very good technician of Karate, he had warned us all to be on our best behavior and be wary of Phil’s Ushirogeri.
Prior to Phil’s visit we had been having Instruction from the various Japanese Sensei who were teaching in the country at the time, the Japanese instructors were demanding and very precise in their interpretation of Karate but nothing prepared us for Milner San.
There were very few women or children practicing Karate in the U.K. and none whatsoever at our club, it mainly consisted of Ex Boxers, Judo men, Street fighters and general Hard Cases, Phil Milner fitted all four categories.
He took us through a punishing warm up which should have been banned under the Geneva Convention as verging on torture, after an hour of this he knelt us all down around the Dojo and called everyone up one at a time for a sparring session, starting with the higher grades and working his way down to the white belts.
You can imagine the fear felt by the lower grades as they watched the senior students being systematically slaughtered by this maniac, his Urakens and Ushirogeris knocking people out and sending them flying into the furniture, when he had finished off all 20 of us and still showed no signs of tiring he then proceeded with a further hour of his famous 1,000 press ups, squats and sit ups, it wasn’t unusual to have the next day off work in order to recover.
During this time Phil used to accompany Sensei Tatsuo Suzuki to our club to grade us as we were then affiliated to the U.K.K.F. however during the early ‘70s Phil founded his own association and the I.B.A. was born.
The I.B.A. Team were nicknamed “Milners Marauders” and to say that we were not welcomed at many tournemants would be an understatement, the problem was always Phils method of training and his idea of whether a punch or kick had scored a point, contact was required but without malice, it turned out fighters who were not “glove shy” but did not win us many trophies as most fights ended in disqualification which was completely against the idea of a sporting competition.
I was fortunate enough to partner Phil in the ‘70s when he was invited to teach throughout England and Scotland assisting him with the warm ups and partnering him in the demonstrations, which always made your blood run cold when demonstrating Jiu-Jitsu and he would say attack me, I would quietly say “kick or punch” and he would say “anything mate, anything” two seconds later I would be on my back in excruciating pain from an arm lock which always seemed to stay on a few seconds after me tapping out.
They were great days and I would not have missed them for anything.

Regards to all the past and present I.B.A. Instructors and Students.
Josh.
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Phil Milner - What Pain Barrier?

Post  Ninj on Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:53 am

Hi Josh

That was great reading, they must have been great days! My first memory of Phil was sheer nerves. Arnie had mentioned Phil but not exactly what he was like. I had no idea what to expect on my first grading and he passed me on my 8th Kyu and he even awarded me my 7th Kyu! I was well chuffed! But, as time went on I began to respect and fear the man in equal measure.

During the late 80's and mid 90' I went on many a course with Phil and there was nowhere to hide.

When I first went up to Bolton and met another great friend and Martial Artist, Steve Costello. We were practicing Kobudo for the first time and the course was going great. We were doing the baton Katas and sparring with the batons and then it happened....

"Aaaaaaaiiiiiiooooooossssssss......" Came the cry and you could see the colour drain from everyone's faces apart from those who didn't realise what was about to happen. The course was in a school hall and Phil had us drag out the gym benches. We were all then spaced out so that the benches were close together and you would be sat on one bench and our feet under the other, then the sit-ups began.

Thing is - and I don't mean to make excuses - I'm not the best at sit-ups as an operation on my bowel has left rather a nasty scar and very weak stomach muscles. So, after the first 50 or so the pain kicked in and I slowed down. "Ooh here comes Phil to tell me to rest" I thought...

...Oh no.

Phil got a young Kyu grade (about 7 or 8 years old) and placed him across my chest, I had to hold the boy and continue.

Suffice to say I had the next day off work as I couldn't walk upright and by Tuesday I looked like Quasimodo.

Ah well, If we had never been through it we wouldn't be ale to fondly look back as we do now. I wouldn't have missed being a part of Phil's legacy for the world!!

More memories soon...

Cheers

Dave
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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  thornton on Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:53 am

Hi,

I posted a long post and it disappeared! Great memories Josh and Dave. And funny stories under hellish conditions .. people today wouldn't realise just what Phil was like to train with.

Is there any rumour in the legendary sparing sessions with Phil and Tatsou where Suzukie was so quick Phil could barely lay the proverbial glove on him? Or are they just rumour?

Josh, damn, I will renew the licence .. I though you'd forgotten! I'll remind the students as well. Pete is back in wakey .. when I see him I'll send him your way.

Dave. this is a great site. I'm spreading the word to the students who were tortured without trial under phil Milner.

Regards.

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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  kiddo on Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:23 am

I remember going to the Lordens Hotel in the early 70s, I had just aquired a second world war japanese sword and before training began I showed it to Phil mmm very nice, then he gave the sword to my instructor Pat Lynch and gave me a huge pair of tonfa, "Pat attack him" said Phil, he began gently coming down at me, Phil shouted I said attack him, there was wood flying everwhere as I tried to make it to the door, scared or what, Phil was laughing his head off, suffice to say he never saw the sword again, all that without a hard hat and safety goggles. Kiddo

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The Sword

Post  Ninj on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:08 am

Hi Kiddo

That sounds a wee bit scary! That's one way of getting rid of your tonfas.

The closest I got to something like that was on a JuJitsu course. There was only about six people on it. There we were in Nottingham applying locks and holds and then Phil disappeared for about two minutes only to return with a milk crate which he handed to one of the students and then told him to attack his partner with it!! Very strange to say the least the defender had a right job on...not the easiest of weapons to defend against. At least it wasn't sharp :-)
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Phil's wife

Post  thornton on Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:07 am

Does anyone remember Phil's wife back in the 70s and did she used to come along to the training sessions?. The reason I ask is that she would always come along to the grading/training sessions in Castleford and watch. But what makes this funny is the fact that she used to always bring her knitting along with her and knit away to her hearts content. Interestingly, she would only ocassionaly look up from her task and this was usually when Phil was screming out yhaaaaaaattttsssssss as he back- kicked some pupil out through the club swinging doors sprawling them into the bar area of the working mens club. She would just carry on knitting without changing her expression as Phil went on to devestate the rest of the class.

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Phil's wife

Post  Ninj on Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:21 am

Hi

I remember Jill coming to courses and competitions, but I cannot remember whether they were married or not. I'm guessing it wasn't Jill, as she used to scream and shout at the fighters in the ring, bless her...
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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  kiddo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:19 am

That would be his first wife Marj,she used to drive him all over, as you say I think she was unshockable as far as Phils training was concerned, Kiddo

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Re: Phil

Post  thornton on Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:10 am

Kiddo,

Yes, she seemed unshockable though with a shock of ginger/auburn hair if I remember correctly.

By the way, and this goes out to anyone who's reading this. I have a few questions in relation to Phil that I'm keen to know the answers to - as I never got the opportunity to ask him these questions myself:

When and where did he begin training in the martial arts and who with?

Who inspired him?

Phil's son was touring the dojos with him in the 80s (he would have been about 20 then) what become of him?

Regards

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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

Post  kiddo on Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:53 pm

thornton, Phil began his interest in the martial arts in the 1950s when he was in the army in Korea, he began teaching Judo at the Falcon pub [ now demolished and turned into a restaurant] at Dinnington in the early 1960s,as for who inspired him there were very few martial artists around at that time, but I know he inspired many students himself. His son was also called Philip unfortunately he didn't have his fathers keen interest in the arts and is now living in Lincolnshire. Kiddo

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Phil

Post  thornton on Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:39 am

Kiddo,

Thanks for that. It fills a lot of blank spaces.

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BAKEWELL SHOW 1966-1967

Post  MORLEY on Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:50 am


BAKEWELL SHOW 1966-1967
Back row left to right
Phil, John Needham Doncaster karate Club (deceased), Edgar Aukland Cudworth, Unknown Chesterfield, Bob Lord Nottingham, John Unwin Chesterfield,
Front row left to right
Graham Morley Doncaster Karate Club , Tony martin Chesterfield.
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Welcome aboard!

Post  Ninj on Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:08 am

Hi Morley

Welcome aboard! What a great photo! I was, er...one year old then! looks like you all had a great day. Strange thing is though, the sun is ACTUALLY shining. Remember those days when it did in summer?

Phil looks lean, mean and downright scary!

Cheers

Ninj
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BAKEWELL SHOW 1966-1967

Post  MORLEY on Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:31 pm

Left to Right
Graham Morley Doncaster - John Unwin Chesterfiled - Edgar Aukland Cudworth - Miss World - Phil - Bob Lord Nottingham - Unknown - Colin ? Stockton
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Re: Welcome all Martial Artists

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