Robert “Bob” Marshall Dalgleish was born on Nov 28/41 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In 1958 he moved to Toronto with his mother. Sensei Dalgleish was a martial art gypsy who travelled all over North America training with some of the most acclaimed instructors of the time.
In the early 1960’s, he began training in Chito Ryu under Masami Tsuruoka, The curriculum of the school placed a heavy emphasis on form and basics. This school marked the starting point of the journey of studying and teaching martial arts throughout the continent.
While studying under Masami Tsuruoka, Sensei Dalgleish would journey several times over a two year period to train in Urban (USA) Goju Ryu under Maestro Peter Urban..
In the mid 1960’s while spending a two year stint in the Royal Canadian Navy, Sensei Dalgleish would travel to California to train with Gosei Yamaguchi in Yamaguchi Goju.
After leaving the Navy, Sensei Dalgleish returned to Toronto and instructed at several of the local martial art schools. The life of traveling and the quest for martial knowledge kept Sensei Dalgleish travelling throughout the US and Canada.
Sensei Dalgleish trained in Goju Ryu under Chuck Merriman, he trained under Rober Trias in Shuri Ryu Karate while in Phoenix, Arizona and another trip to Florida allowed him the opportunity to train with Dr. Daniel K. Pai in White Dragon (Pai Lum) Kung Fu. During in one of his many stays in California, Sensei Dalgleish trained in Shorinji Karate and Kobudo under Richard Kim as well as Shotokan under Hidetaka Nishiyama.
After returning to Canada from his many trips, Sensei Dalgleish would train and teach at David Chong’s Canadian Karate/Kung Fu club and at Benny Allen’s Eastern Karate Club. He openly share his knowledge at the karate schools in Toronto and southern Ontario.
In 1970, Sensei Dalgleish accepted a position as a draftsman at INCO. Sensei Dalgleish and his wife Ruth moved to Sudbury and opened the Sudbury Goju Kai Karate Dojo. The school would move several times as enrollment increased finally settling at a building on Regent Street. The Dojo was at the front of the building and Sensei Dalgleish & Ruth lived in the back with Sensei Bob’s father Slim.
The curriculum at the school was broad and the workouts intense. Along with basics and forms, the students were taught grabbing techniques, board breaking, jiu jitsu, sticky hands and resuscitation techniques. Various types of sparring drills such as one, two and three step sparring, circle sparring, gauntlet or special reflex sparring and blindfold sparring were used to enhance the students fighting techniques.
Sensei Dalgleish referred to his system as “Canadian Goju” due to the multiple system that influence the core of his teaching. Sensei Bob had influences from Chito Ryu, Shotokan, Shuri Ryu, USA (Urban) Goju, Yamaguchi Goju, KyokuShin-Kai, and more. These many influences eventually evolved into what is known as Canadian Goju Ryu.
While maintaining the operation of his school, Sensei Dalgleish began traveling to karate tournaments. His students would consistently win at the tournaments and Sensei Dalgleish was in demand as a referee and martial arts demonstrator. Sensei Dalgleish was a real crowd pleaser and remembered for his board breaking demonstrations. One break he was remembered for was a fingertip strike through four one-inch pine boards.
It was during this time in Sudbury that Sensei Dalgleish would create a true Canadian kata – “The Way of the Wolverine”. Sensei Dalgleish was proud to be a Canadian and this was his way of giving something back to the martial arts that was Canadian. The kata is a mixture of Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Chito Ryu, Shaolin Kung Fu and Wing Chun. His kata is still practiced today throughout most of Canada. This kata was his masterpiece and something he will always be remembered by.
In the mid 1970’s despite the high enrolment, financial and personal problems cause the Sudbury Goju Kai Karate Dojo to close. Sensei Dalgleish moved back to Toronto.
Over the next few years, Sensei Dalgleish continued to travel and teach. For a short period he stayed with Pat McCarthy. Later on he would train and teach at Ken Hayashi’s Karate school. He continued to teach seminars and perform demonstration throughout the city of Toronto. He called London home for a short while, teaching and helping a student open a karate school.
The weekend of July 6, 1978, Sensei Dalgleish was scheduled to teach a seminar in Timmins, Ontario but suddenly cancelled it because he felt that he needed to visit his mother in Thunder Bay. Sensei Dalgleish died from heart failure during this visit. He was buried in his karate uniform and belt.