"The harder you train, the luckier you get!"
-sensei charles naylor
Charles Naylor founded Chelmsford Karate Club in 1967, with the original CSKC Dojo being at the YMCA Chelmsford. Within the KUGB he made sure that Chelmsford Karate Club were firmly on the map developing over the many years numerous Karateka to National and International standard. He dedicated his life to Karate and was respected internationally.
Sensei Charles Naylor laid the foundations in terms of training methods, technical excellence, dedication required and much more for us to follow in his footsteps.
We are fortunate that his wife, Sensei Dot, was still active Instructing at the Chelmsford Dojo up until 2010, with his daughter Jane and son-in-law Richard taking over as Chief Instructors of the club in 2017, all of whom he has inspired to teach with the same Karate philosophy.
Charles Naylor was born in Hubli, South West India on the 13th May 1933. He began his education in India, and left school at the age of 14 to work for a while as a cabin boy.
He came to England in 1948, at the age of 15, were he began an apprenticeship at the BICC Company in Liverpool and attended night school, gaining a HNC in electrical engineering. It was there that he first took an interest in karate, after a colleague brought in a copy of the Nishiyama and Brown book, 'Karate the Art of Empty hand Fighting'.
Being a keen sportsman, he decided to give it a go, and began to make enquiries via the CCPR (the body which pre-dated the Sports Council) About this time, a group of youngsters from a Liverpool Jiu Jitsu club (amongst them, a Brown Belt called Andy Sherry), were making similar enquiries. They, and a group from the BICC, met at a pub in the centre of Liverpool to discuss the formation of a Karate Club.
Photo: Charles Naylor (Front row first left) - Andy Sherry (second row third from left) - BKF Liverpool Dojo, 1962.
A friend had attended a Karate Course under a Mr Vernon Bell at Chigwell in Essex, and he became the first 'instructor' at a class held at the David Lewis Theatre, in Liverpool city centre. Sensei Naylor obviously gave it a good go, as he gained his Black Belt in 1966, one of the first in the country to do so.
Little did he realise the level of involvement at which he and his family would finally find themselves.
Dot Naylor, his wife took up Karate shortly after him, earning up to 3rd Dan, his daughter Jane gained 5th Dan and has represented Great Britain for many years as a competitor, whilst his son Mark is a 1st Dan. His grandchildren Bronte, Dominic, and Megan also took up Karate.
All of the Naylors are long-standing members, and between them have approximately 90 years KUGB membership and practice, surely an unbeatable record!
Photo: Sensei Charlie and Sensei Andy Sherry eating ice cream in Los Angeles
As well as teaching Karate as a profession, Sensei Naylor was a trustee of the KUGB and it's Vice-Chairman, and was highly regarded in International circles for his negotiating skills and his understanding of the complexities of Karate politics. He was also a Senior International Referee.
In spite of all these achievements, his greatest pride was seeing his wife and children gain their Black Belts, and Jane gaining selection to the International Squad.
Moments he always savoured were watching Frank Brennan beat World Champion Mori in Bremmen in 1980, and in the re emergence of ESKA in Sunderland, especially as the England team won, and last, but not least, watching the 'boys' beat Japan at the World Championships in 1990.
Charles sadly passed away on 14th March 2007.
Photo: Sensei Charlie with some of his Shotokan Tigers at the Anglia Ruskin University Dojo
tributes to charles naylor
from andy sherry
"I had the great pleasure of knowing Charles Naylor since we first met in 1959. He was a member of the English Electric companies Judo Club, and I, a member of the Alpha Ju Jitsu Club. We combined with members of both clubs and formed the Liverpool Karate Club. We always got on very well together and were close friends until his sad and untimely death in March 2007.
His enthusiasm for Karate was infectious which obviously rubbed off on his wife Dot, and children, Jane and Mark who are all Senior Black Belts. Charles ran a very successful dojo in Chelmsford which always produces Karate-ka of excellent standard, superb etiquette and many champion competitors.
I consider it to have been a great privilege to have known Charles over all those years and to have worked with him on the development of karate and the KUGB. He was so well thought of that he was continuously elected as President of the World Shotokan Karate Association and the European Shotokan Karate Association since there formation. He is missed greatly by his family and he is missed by me and his numerous friends and colleagues throughout the Karate World.
He is a great loss to the KUGB but the legacy that he has left behind has helped to make the organisation strong, vigorous and successful."
from frank brennan
"I had known Charles for more than 30 years and I don’t think I had ever been to a championship without him being present. He was a great ambassador for karate and is highly respected both Nationally and Internationally.
Charles had always been a staunch and loyal supporter of the KUGB and was instrumental in the development of both the European Shotokan Karate Association and the World Shotokan Karate Association. Over the years I became very good friends with him, as I have with all of his family. He was very jovial and always good company to be with. His death is a sad loss to me and to his numerous students and friends throughout the karate world."
from dirk de mits
"I first met him in 1986, at the time of the incorporation of ESKO (later changed to ESKA) when there was an urgent need for a clearly traditional karate organisation in Europe , following the dissolvement of the EAKE. He acted as a representative of the English organisation and in an almost spontaneous, natural and generally accepted manner took charge of the establishment of this new European karate association.
Whilst recognising his appreciation for what the Japanese masters had realised in Europe, he wants to make especially clear that the Shotokan Karate in Europe is sufficiently adult to take its future into its own hands. His priorities specifically lie in the areas of simplicity, clarity and linearity of legislation, openness for all opinions and the addressing of what is essential. For him the athletes are the most important people concerned.
That his vision motivated others so strongly, is evidenced by the near unanimous votes cast in his favour as European President. And that the belief in his vision continued unabated, is evidenced by the success of ESKA on the one hand and his uninterrupted re-elections as President."
from richard amos
"With perfect clarity I can remember the very first moment I ever saw a black belt and that was in late 1973 in the YMCA in Chelmsford, Essex. Slung over his shoulder, Charles Naylor, had his gi wrapped in his ragged belt and had entered the lobby. I suppose he was then, younger than I am now but he had, to me, an air of impressive authority. I never questioned that authority then or years later while competing nationally and internationally and, actually, I still wouldn’t question it now.
Traveling with Naylor sensei in my late teens always felt like a privilege. I knew he’d always know where to go, how to behave and who was in charge. I remember being introduced to Enoeda sensei as an 11 year old, Andy Sherry sensei in the mid-‘70’s and Nakayama sensei in Cairo in ’83 by Charles and marking the mutual respect and easy going familiarity he had with these instructors who, individually, were at their peaks during the heyday of the JKA.
I think the respect that Naylor sensei always received from those who really knew him came from a unique combination of factors, not least his karate ability. There are some characters (usually those looking for the excuse that caused their team to do badly in a competition) that may have found him officious perhaps. They were unfortunate to have only seen him in that role. I’ve been lucky to have spent almost all my time knowing Charles from the perspective of his student and benefiting from his knowledge, generosity and fairness.
In my opinion the strength he had, that allowed him to plunge unhesitatingly into potential conflicts during the heat of competition, was borne from his integrity and confidence that in turn came from his approach to training and teaching. Naylor sensei’s every class was designed to push us very hard and this reflected the only karate he knew, that is, the karate instilled into him by Enoeda sensei, which needs no further comment.
Physically, quite a small slightly-built man but he inspired all of us training under his tuition to put every ounce of effort into our techniques in order to achieve our potential for power through form. A striking characteristic of Naylor sensei was his huge dignity that transcended the possibility that personal gain might get in the way of doing the right thing. I think this quality more than any other has been a source of inspiration for me and one which is so rare these days where everything seems to be reduced to short term selfish benefits.
People have asked me recently what has gone on with the karate politics in England (especially of course since the sad passing of Enoeda sensei) as there are so many conflicting stories. I have friends whose loyalties lie in one or other of the several camps. I tell them that I don’t know who is right or wrong but that whatever I’ve been told by Charles Naylor is undoubtedly true, as I believe he is incapable of stating anything false.
Naturally my last conversation with Charles was only after a couple of hrs in his dojo. He was, by the way, in his 70’s and teaching with the enthusiasm I remember from the 1970’s while nursing (more accurately ignoring) a broken foot.
He is very sadly missed by me and, without question, all of his students."
from stuart gordon
"I first started training with Sensei Naylor as a 7 year old in 1988. I remember that, though I was no more than a 4½ft child, I was treated no differently to anyone else at the club. For me this was amazing as I was transformed from the kid I was outside of the class into a karate-ka inside and treated in the same way as all of the adults training with me. I think that is one of the first things that I found out about Charlie and is something that has never changed in the whole time I have been lucky enough to know and train under him. He treated everyone with the same level of respect and dignity they deserved and somehow managed to get the best out of them as they wanted to do it for him.
Throughout my career, he was always on hand to give me advice on how to approach my training and how to get the best out of myself. It will forever be one of my most savoured moments in karate to hear him say the words “that was good”. To receive a “good” from Charlie was the epitome of how much regard receiving his opinion is held. When there were sycophants eager to push lavish praise upon performances, it was always Sensei Naylor’s opinion that mattered the most.
Sensei's attitude and approach to karate and life as a whole has affected me profoundly. The way he carried himself both in and outside of the dojo has influenced my entire approach to everything I have encountered. I find giving up on anything extremely hard; I enjoy the prospect of training hard and reaping the benefits; qualities I am proud to have learnt from Sensei as a student and a friend.
I am proud to say that I was one of Sensei Naylor’s students and it is down to him that I know I will always feel welcome at Chelmsford. Having the honour of representing Sensei's club and his karate, in his company and under his eye, is something I will always treasure."