Danny Ball 1935-2011

A short fatal illness has taken Danny away from us and he is a great loss to our karate family. He was training in December, having achieved his Yondan with Shihan Kato in October. Yondan requires a very high standard and he had trained hard throughout 2010 in the lead up to his grading.

Danny started karate at the Keidokwai club in Blackpool in 1977 at the age of 42. Everyone hearing this story for the first time thought it must be a mistake, as Danny looked like a fit 50-year old Sensei, with the fluidity of movement usually associated with those who start karate at an early age.

I shared a similar karate background to Danny and he was brought up in a very hard school, where cuts, broken ribs and other injuries were common. Terry O’Neal, the famous international competitor, based at the Red Triangle club in Liverpool, awarded to him 1st Kyu brown belt, but then he lost 5 years of training due to a severe knee injury.

Fortunately for us, he recognised the strengths of our club, and on his comeback in 1993 he joined and soon achieved Shodan black belt with Shihan Kato.

He developed into a good instructor, and he was held in the highest regard. He encouraged those who were struggling, and pushed those with talent, without a hint of ego when showing how it should be done. I have often smiled at the much younger students who were literally shocked by his speed and power when he ‘turned it on’.

Big John Wills wrote,It's my nature to try and eek out a positive thought from any situation, and although there are very few when it comes to a friend passing I did allow myself one inward smile this morning. I remembered the relationship between Kato and Danny on the dojo during the many visits our chief instructor made to the club. Danny often found some of the techniques complicated, awkward and down right difficult (didn't we all..!) but no matter how many times Kato would stop him, correct him, ‘strongly encouraged’ him, Danny would persevere until he'd grasped the exercise. That was Danny's spirit, and that's what I'll remember Danny for. I had much respect for Danny as a Karate-ka. The club will miss him.”

His great strengths were charging forward with mai-geri and gyaka-zuki in Jiyu-Ippon Kumite and combinations of these when sparring. He believed in the art of ‘traditional karate’, where students learn correct form and technique that works outside the dojo. He taught and trained with enthusiasm, and studied the theory, which is how he approached everything in life.

Rest in peace Sensei Danny.

Michael Barr 4th Dan IJKA

We speak for everyone who knew him, when we can say unreservedly we feel proud to have trained with Danny and have been privileged to call him our friend.

Shihan Kato, Ron Bellwood, Michelle Adamson, Michael Barr, Dave McLaughlin, Chris Jones, Colin Darlow, Linda Mansfield, Jon Wills, Mike Cairney, Nazzareno Ghigi, Kevin Berry, George Gauld, Mark Watts, John Fallows, Peter Custance, Dr John Lyons, Brian Toomey, Dave Sanderson, Jim Pugh, Alan Stanley.


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