What Is MayoShinDo

MayoShinDo is a modern style of martial art which is based on traditional Japanese and Chinese styles but is adapted to modern European needs. MayoShinDo was founded by Mr George Stanley Mayo, who studied many different martial arts under many masters. In 1955 he met the Japanese Judo master Kenshiro Abbe. They became friends and spent much time in training and philosophical discussion. Mr Abbe brought with him a Japanese philosophy called “Kyushindo”, based on three principles: that all things exist in a constant state of motion, that the motion is rhythmic and smooth, and that all things move and work in harmony.
Mr Mayo created a style of karate in 1948 based on his studies and was later adapted based on Mr Abbe’s philosophy. In 2001 MayoShinDo was formed due to people not adhering to Mr Mayo’s principles or the way he practised techniques so Mr Mayo dis-associated himself from them by breaking away and forming MayoShinDo.
Mayo – from our founder, George Mayo.
Shin – no direct equivalent in English but is usually translated as “heart”, “spirit” or “perfection”.
Do – “way” or “path”: a martial art that is not purely a combat system but aims to provide a path through life for the practitioner.

Thus “Mr Mayo’s perfecting way”, to which we add “try for perfection in everything you do”. Of course none of us can achieve perfection, we can just learn from our teachers and from each other and try our best to improve.


MayoShinDo Karate

MayoShinDo Karate is primarily a striking art, although blocks, avoidance, throws, sweeps, locks, weapons, groundwork etc. are all included in a set syllabus for each grade. There are kata (forms) for all grades. Paired or group practise is non-contact. Mitts, punch bags etc. are used to test a student’s focus, accuracy and power.

Training sessions always start with warm-up exercises and a gentle stretching routine. Many of the exercises are adapted Yoga movements. We then practise techniques in various ways: against imagined opponents, in pairs or groups, or hitting focus mitts and punchbags.
MayoShinDo Karate is based principally on Original Shotokan Karate, Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua and Hsing I. To read more on our origins and how these styles influence MayoShinDo please read the Origins of MayoShinDo.
MayoShinDo students learn to relax and meditate. Higher grades also have to learn about anatomy, diet and first aid.
We hope we don’t have to use our knowledge to defend ourselves or someone else, but if we have no alternative, whatever we do has to be effective. To this end, we avoid techniques that are overcomplicated or flashy and focus on those that often appear understated but that are short and quick and are designed to cause enough pain or injury to an opponent to prevent them from carrying out their attack. If that sounds brutal, well, yes, it can be. We are under no illusion that self-defence is anything other than stressful and messy, but our intention is always to leave the scene having done the minimum necessary and having reduced the overall potential level of violence.

MayoShinDo Judo

Known as “Ju Judo” because unlike traditional Judo MayoShinDo Judo does not rely on strength but on movement, balance and timing. Throws, groundwork and drills appear in a syllabus for each grade. Judo is taught along side our karate as they both go hand in hand with one another, so although we don’t have any dedicated Judo clubs it is something that we practice.


MayoShinDo karate has no competition nor do we enter into competitions as Mr Mayo felt it risks fostering a win-at-all-costs attitude to the detriment of proper technique. We accept that competitive styles will suit some people well, but competition tends to favour those who are naturally more self-confident or aggressive. For us, competition does not fit with our core principles that karate should be accessible to everyone and is a lifelong system for personal improvement. It is notable that the founder of karate, Gichin Funakoshi, was against the idea of competition!

Principles of MayoShinDo

  • teaches self-discipline
  • teaches self-protection
  • improves fitness
  • uses movement, speed, accuracy and focus
  • uses English for all its techniques
  • promotes self-confidence, but with respect for others
  • is non-contact
  • is not competitive or aggressive
  • does not rely on physical strength
  • does not use stylised shouts or forced breathing
  • does not do breaking or hardening of striking parts