Museum hosts display for Scouse samurai

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Ronnie teaching his class at LSKC © National Museums Liverpool

Ronnie teaching his class at LSKC back in the 80s. Pic © National Museums Liverpool

The fascinating story of a Toxteth samurai and ex-secret service member will now be told through a new exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool.

Ronnie Colwell, who died last year, was born and raised in Toxteth and was a martial arts grandmaster who attained the level of 10th Dan, which is the highest accolade in his profession. He was one out of only three people in the UK to be awarded one.

Displayed in the museum is the certificate alongside Ronnie’s suit of armour made specifically for him by the Japanese Royal family’s tailors.

Ronnie’s son, Andrew Colwell, told JMU Journalism: “What he achieved was phenomenal. His story is one of myth, legend and movies.

“He was befriended by a Japanese dockhand on Dingle docks – a man who was actually an ostracised member of the Japanese royal family. That was his first introduction to martial arts.”

During his lifetime he was a member of the SAS, the Parachute Regiment and the Secret Service.

The display will feature in the museum’s ‘Our Wondrous Place’ exhibition and will tell the story of Ronnie’s life alongside those of other sporting legends, including Beth Tweddle and Steven Gerrard.

Andrew said: “It’s really important to me and I think it would have been to my dad as well that these on display for the people of this city. He wasn’t overly given to unnecessary emotion, certainly not outside of his family. Undoubtedly he would have allowed himself a smile.”

Ronnie also created the Liverpool Shaolin karate club in Takers Street in 1968.

The museum’s Assistant Curator of Urban History, Claire Hunter said: “The most important part about the Museum of Liverpool is that we tell people’s stories using their own voices.

“I always think of the museum as a sort of Library because without the stories, it wouldn’t be what it is, so Ronnie’s story is like the newest book in our library.”

About Beth Hughes, JMU Journalism