When Sensei Steve Cattle died in 1995, he and Sensei Derek were firm friends. They taught together all over the UK. Sensei Cattle was a Karate-Ka of world renown, who never ceased to inspire all who trained with him. Sensei Ridgway believes he would not be where he is today without Sensei Steve Cattle.
Sadly Sensei Steve Cattle passed away in early 1995. He is greatly missed.
Steve Cattle His Inspiration By Derek Ridgway
I was recently asked to write a few words about my good friend Steve Cattle, who sadly passed away on the 21st FEB 1995.
Initially I thought how can I write just a few words about Steve and still relate to those who didn’t know him what a great Karate-ka and amazing man he was.
Then I thought of all the times in my life when Steve inspired me. From the times that I watched him fighting in the early seventies, when I was barely a teenager, to the time just before his death when he just turned up at my club, got in the line, and trained.
Steve always gave 110%, nothing less, whether he was teaching or training. His enthusiasm was infectious; he could motivate a whole hall of people in seconds and get more out of people than they ever thought possible. To stress this point I remember a few years ago when I had Sensei Tomiyama to teach at my club. Steve and myself had booked a private lesson in my private Dojo. It was there that Steve learnt NIPAPO Kata from Sensei Tomiyama. We then moved onto the main course venue where we were taught the Kata ITOSU-NO-WANSHU. Steve learnt that as well. Then for the black belt session we were taught the Kata SHIHO KUSHANKU (Kosokun) and Steve learnt that as well. At the end of the course I turned round to Steve (there was steam rising from his head and he was soaked with sweat) and said THREE KATA’s in one day how do you feel. His reply, “Bloody marvellous son, bloody marvellous”
So perhaps one of the greatest things Steve left us was his INSPIRATION, which still lives on in all those who knew him well. Myself, every day when I train in my own dojo, Steve’s picture is there on the wall with all the great instructors (Mabuni, Kiyan, Itosu, K Higoanna, etc) looking at me and inspiring me to train and improve.
So to put Steve’s legacy in a nutshell, if those who have been inspired by Steve pass on that inspiration to the ones they teach, then even the next generation, who will never be lucky enough to train with or meet Steve, can be given an insight into one of this country’s greatest Karate-ka – Sensei STEVE CATTLE.
My first recollection of Steve was when, as a young lad, I would watch him compete in the national championships. I can remember thinking that he must have an extra eye in the back of his head, he seemed to be able to sense the edge of the area and know just when his foot had reached the line.
Steve would be the first to admit that he didn’t do a great variety of techniques on the mat, but what we all remember him for was his skill as a tactician. I recall many times watching as Steve out thought and out maneuvered opponents, tempting them into making an error via his superior tactics, then pouncing when they were most vulnerable.
My first training sessions with Steve were in Birmingham, Steve would come and teach our squad and teach us Shotokan Katas some of which were very different from the Wado-Ryu katas which was all we knew at the time.
It was around this time that I first got to know Steve on any sort of personal level. Not too long after the then governing body, BKCC, split. I stayed with my Wado-Ryu teachers who joined the newly formed EKC and Steve being a member of the KUGB joined the EKB. For a while we lost touch then as soon as I opened my own club I gave Steve a call and started to have Steve to teach for me on a regular basis.
As I got to know Steve better, it became obvious just how vast his Karate knowledge was and his general open mindedness to other styles and techniques.
Few would argue with the fact that he was probably the most knowledgeable person on Karate as a whole in this country. Steve was very open minded, it was all Karate to Steve, He said that there were really only two types of Karate good and bad, and as long as it was good then he would train and he wanted to learn it.
It was also around this time that I started to go through a crisis of styles I had not long passed my 4th Dan in Wado-Ryu but had also recently been training in the Shito-Ryu style with Tomiyama sensei. I spoke with Steve on the matter, and he encouraged me to train in the Shito-Ryu system, he said that Tomiyama Sensei was an excellent instructor; the Shito-Ryu system was a vast system and if I worked very hard it would be of great benefit in the future. That was around ten years ago and still rings in my ears as some of the best advice I have been given regarding my Karate career. I still train and teach Wado-Ryu, but for me now, my main love is Shito-Ryu.
Without Steve’s encouragement through those times of uncertainty I may never have been on the path which I now follow.
The next chapter of my involvement with Steve happened, of all places, in the small town of Fort Augustus near Loch Ness in north Scotland. I was on holiday in the area and Steve was teaching that evening in Inverness. I had gone to answer a call of nature and who should be standing next to me, but Steve. A chance in a million meeting, in the middle of nowhere. Of course we retired to a more hospitable establishment to discuss what we had been doing recently and our plans for the future. It was then that Steve told me about the setting up of the Butokukai in Great Britain, he explained the Butokukai meant a group of martial artists coming together at the highest level, with the purpose of promoting and preserving the traditional martial arts philosophies and values. This chance meeting definitely laid the seeds for me to join this association, and within a few months my clubs and myself had joined the Butokukai.
For the next three years I went everywhere with Steve, both teaching and training with him. During these times he without doubt gave me the confidence and the self belief to be a professional instructor and to turn up at a different dojo who were more often than not a different style and take charge. I remember turning up in Aberdeen and having to teach a class hall full of Scottish Shotokan karate-ka the Shito-Ryu kata Matsumura Bassai. Without Steve’s encouragement and faith in my ability courses like that would never have happened.
To his great credit, whenever I taught, Steve got in the line and trained with every one else and he would always give 110% – he didn’t know anything else. His thirst for knowledge never waned; his brain was like a sponge for the taking in of knowledge. I remember one private lesson we had at my dojo with Sensei Tomiyama. We were learning the difficult and complicated kata Nipapo and Steve’s head was literally steaming as his brain tried to take in the information.
Steve’s knowledge didn’t stop at the martial arts; he seemed to know alot about most things. We could be travelling to a course and someone would ask him a question, it could be about current affairs or about history, politics, religion, etc and he would know. He was a truly amazing man.
So to sum up about Steve, without doubt we have lost one of this country’s finest Karate-ka. He came from the first generation of karate-ka in this country and he is sadly the first of the greats to pass away.
He will be remembered with pride and admiration, the karate world has lost a great instructor and many of us have lost a dear friend.
I, myself, have not just lost an instructor but over the last few years he became like an elder brother, he guided, advised and helped me in any way he could.
I miss him greatly and love him dearly.
Your loyal friend and student
Derek Ridgway 5th Dan Butokukai