I started training in 1973 in Plymouth whilst at University. I
also trained at the local Shotokan Karate Club under Les Clark,
who is my Sensei. My early gradings were with Sensei H. Tomita,
newly arrived in England from Japan, who years later became a close
friend and mentor, when he became a regular visitor to my own club.
I passed my Ist Dan in 1977, 2nd Dan in 1982 and 3rd Dan in 1986.
I trained many times at Crystal Palace throughout the 70's, 80's
and 90's, under all the top Japanese and English Instructors, such
as Enoeda, Nakayama, Tanaka, Tabata , Oichi , Sherry, Poynton, Cattle,
O'Neil and Brennan. In my opinion the only way to progress in Karate
is to train with the best and these men were all prepared to share
their skill and knowledge.
I also had the opportunity to train with a Tae-Kwon -Do club for
6 months whilst on a work placement from University in 1974 in Ipswich,
and with a Wado -Ryu Club in Bristol for 6 months in 1975 . Both
of which were a great experience and gave me an interest in all
forms of martial art.
I have also studied Iai-Do (Japanese swordsmanship) although I
currently have no teacher, so practice alone.
was very keen on competitions when I was younger and had some success
both at club level and National level, in both Kumite (fighting)
and Kata (forms). My best placing was Senior Kumite Champion at
the 1978 South West Championships, where I also made the final of
the Kata event.
I started The Taunton Shotokan Karate Club in 1977, when I moved
to Taunton to work for a Bank, after leaving University. At the
time I was a Brown Belt 1st Kyu. The Taunton Club originally met
at Trull Memorial Hall on a Monday and Thursday, so to further my
own study, I travelled to Exeter on a Wednesday and Plymouth on
a Friday to enable me to train with higher grades.
My best memories of my time in Karate are all the people I have
met and friends I have made, many of whom I am still in contact
with. I also get a great feeling every time one of my students achieves
his Black Belt, because I know that every student has overcome his
own fears and problems to achieve that, and I am pleased to have
been able to show him the way!