Chris Rowen (Shihan, 7th dan) – BunbukanShihan C.J.Rowen
I have known Azeem for most of his Karate career and have always been impressed with his passion for Martial Arts. Over the years I have got to know him as a student and a friend. He is shining example of one who has put time, effort and belief into Karate-Do and has selflessly shared it for the benefit of a wider audience. He recently completed an MA research study in Karate Coaching which has been a ground-breaking and thought provoking contribution to the literature of Karate-do.
Azeem is a true traditional martial artist who has persistently exemplified devout loyalty and respect to the Karate lineage. His innovative and forward thinking approach has made him a great ambassador of Karate. In the 90s he pioneered one of the first online Karate magazine’s where martial artists from all walks of life would come together to share their ideas.
I congratulate the EmptyHands Dojo on their new website and wish them the best in their journey!
In Budo & Friendship
Ko Poon (Sifu) – JDIATCC-StratfordKo Poon
It is with great pleasure and happiness to be asked to write a testimony for Azeem Mushtaq. It has been just over twenty years ago that he became one of my first students within the martial arts. At that time Azeem displayed a depth and dedication which made it very easy for me to teach him Karate (the martial art that I was practising at that time). I have vivid memories of him coming to my house and training him either in the garden, at the car park, essentially wherever we could find space that in turn became the ‘dojo’ for us. Azeem was instrumental in the early days of setting up Poon Dojo. He played a key role in helping my brother and I with the running of our School. This led to him becoming one of our senior students. As a Karateka, Azeem always displayed the strong spirit that I expected from all students and this would often permeate amongst the other students. He was committed to his training often training in-between very awkward shift hours at work, sometimes even after a night shift! Nothing at that time became an obstacle to his Karate training.Azeem always sought to research Karate and strived to act as an ambassador for this Art. This in turn led to the creation of one of the earliest Martial Arts online journals entitled ZenKarate, which I must add was completely free to the reader. His quest to grow, naturally led to the formation of his own Karate school – EmptyHands.
EmptyHands echoes much of the values that Azeem had experienced at Poon Dojo. As a Karate School it strives to continue the tradition of traditional Karate Do, allowing students to experience what this Art has to offer within the context of a modern society. At EmptyHands, practice is informed by theory. Azeem has spent much of his time researching coaching within Karate by completing his Masters degree, and in turn has allowed his findings to shape how Karate is taught within EmptyHands but most importantly how pupils can benefit fully from this.
Azeem embodies the spirit of Budo, and it is this spirit and his tenacity that drives him to accomplish all that he puts his mind to. It is this spirit that will continue to foster within EmptyHands. My final words are: if you want a traditional Budo dojo to learn classical Karate Do, this is the place to come.
I wish Azeem and EmptyHands many, many years of success and happiness.
In Budo and Friendship
John Poon (Sensei, 5th Dan) – Poon DojoPoon Dojo
Congratulations to Azeem Sensei for his new website and Empty Hands. I have known Azeem Sensei since the early nineties where he first started his training with Poon Dojo in Shotokan Karate. He excelled in his training and achieved his 1st Dan Black Belt with us. His dedication, discipline and hard work continued with the Poon Dojo where he helped train young students and mentored some of our other senior students. A good role model and someone looked upon highly by the Poon Dojo students.Azeem Sensei then continued his training with the JKA and other various Teachers, where he then set up Empty Hands. He followed the same ethos, etiquette and discipline as Poon Dojo and integrated this within his own dojo. Following tradition, Azeem Sensei continues to raise some fine students within Empty Hands and is forever finding ways of improving his schools training drills, syllabus and all other aspects of Training in Karate-Do, including Kihon, Kumite & Kata. Time, dedication and hard training proves the success of the Dojo, which is evident from his loyal senior students that continue to train and support Azeem Sensei.
We wish Empty Hand Dojo every success in their martial journey for years to come.
Best Wishes – John Poon Sensei
Rex Lassalle (Shiatsu Master)Rex Lassalle
Azeem Sensei is a competent and diligent Shiatsu practitioner who is always curious of developing his skills and overall aptitude in serving his clients and students. He brings a deep passion to this healing modality by combining his Karate expertise in a beautiful synergy with his Shiatsu and Coaching skills. I recommend him highly for his unique approach and gift in supporting people through difficult times!
Congratulations on this wonderful new website which looks professional and in-keeping with the EmpytHands philosophy.
All the best!
Fr Gordon Williams (Roshi)Fr Gordon Williams (Roshi)
I first met Azeem in 1994 when I was appointed parish priest of St Francis of Assisi Stratford London. He was one of the Sensei’s teaching Karate to young students in the parish hall. Although I was not a practitioner of Karate I shared a keen interest in Japanese arts with a particular focus on Zazen (sitting meditation). As a result we became good friends and our study of Zazen led us to Japan in 2003 along with Ko Poon Sensei. We visited many historical landmarks including Kyoto Zen gardens and JKA honbu dojo.
Azeem is a family man from an Islamic background but very open to inter faith dialogue. He is extremely dedicated to the study of martial arts and shows that calm and courteous manner which is often evident from someone who is serious about their practice. I put great value on my friendship with Azeem and enjoy immensely our conversations on matters of religion and right practice.
I find it refreshing to share insights with him due to his openness and consider him to be a model teacher who is always willing to help those in need!
Susan van Elmpt (Shiatsu Teacher)Susan van Elmpt BA (Hons), Dip-BSS Shiatsu, MRSS (T)
My first meeting with Azeem was in the autumn of 2000 at the British School of Shiatsu-Do in London, where we were starting our professional training as shiatsu practitioners. At that time Azeem’s dedication to developing his martial-arts skills was very apparent in his ability to combine a full-time career while continuing with his Karate and Tai Chi and also studying for his Shiatsu diploma. During our three-year training we would meet regularly to exchange ideas, support each others’ studies and practise our shiatsu technique. One of the qualities that particularly stood out for me was Azeem’s ability to rise above stressful situations and work pressure while following his goals, never losing his sense of humour or his strong sense of values.
After qualifying as a Shiatsu Practitioner in 2003, Azeem continued to focus on his goals in Karate, Tai-Chi and Shiatsu, combining the healing, Yin aspect of Shiatsu with the more outward, Yang aspects of Karate. This led in 2006 to the opening of his EmptyHands KaraTe school, which he still runs today.
Azeem is also continually expanding his knowledge and experience, seeking out new masters and teachers while constantly developing his own teaching and coaching skills and sharing his knowledge generously with others.
Today – between his parallel career in Business Consultancy, his shiatsu practice and his martial arts activities, we still enjoy meeting up regularly to share ideas and exchange shiatsu treatments.
Karen Aram (Shiatsu Therapist & Relationship Counsellor)Karen Aram MA (Relationship Counselling), Dip-BSS Shiatsu
I’ve known Azeem for nearly 14years as a colleague and friend.
Having trained with Azeem at the British School of Shiatsu-Do, I can vouch for his professionalism and skill. His Shiatsu practice is well informed, skilled, sensitive and intuitive.
Azeen takes a holistic view of the client, able to treat them individually and appropriately, understanding the type of treatment required. His treatments for my back pain have been second to none!
As well as Shiatsu, Azeem remains totally committed to his Karate Dojo, understanding how one art forms informs and supports the other.
If you are lucky enough to be able to book a shiatsu treatment with Azeem, you’ll reap the health rewards and meet a lovely person to boot!