Wirral Karate Association was born out of Master McKinney’s Chien Combat Karate Club which started in Birkenhead in the early/mid 70’s. Initially the club was Shotokan based but from the very first days the emphasis was on practical combat karate. Other styles were absorbed into the syllabus including Goju Ryu, Wado Ryu and Kyokushinkai.
The club was affiliated to the British Karate Association and McKinney Sensei was guided by the BKA’s founder the great Danny Connor. McKinney Sensei was awarded all his karate dan grades including his 5th dan from the late Danny Connor.
Although the clubs emphasis was on practicality, they did venture into sport and in the early 1990’s won several British titles including British Team Kumite Champions, Individual British Kumite Champions and British Kata Champions.
The clubs original full contact knock down squad were given the Chinese name Zhanyou (Battle Companions). The later competition points fighting squad was called Transformers Freestyle Karate Squad.
The original Full Contact Zhanyou ( who won British titles fighting Full Contact Chinese Sanda ) included amongst its blackbelts:- Peter Collins, Jon Lumby, Paul Ruscoe, Ian Povey, Barry O’Callaghan, Mark Bearsley, Phil Smith, Dave Smith, Kevin Knight, Paul Buckley.
The second generation who won most of the BKA titles included: Barry Owens, Lee Charles, Fiachra Kearney, Steve D’Arcy, Wayne Neish and Karl Hoxby,
All the clubs black belts are now known as Zhanyou Combat Clan.
These days the club concentrates on Practical Combat Karate and has amongst its advisors McKinney Sensei’s great friend and training partner of over 40 years, the legendary Terry O’Neill 8th dan.
Wirral Karate Association is now part of Seven Stars Martial Arts Association. It is now based at Seven Stars Physical Arts Academy in Eastham on the Wirral Peninsular, Merseyside.