Profiles of Senior KUGB Instructors
Click on a Senior Instructor's name from the list below to view a short biography. (Past Instructors)
- Andy Sherry
- Terry O'Neill
- Bob Poynton
- Bob Rhodes
- Billy Higgins
- Jimmy Brennan
- Frank Brennan
- Garry Harford
- Graham Adams
- Andrew Brown
- Lyndon Davies
- John Holdsworth
- Bill MacKenzie
- Owen Murray
- Julie Nicholson
- Michael O'Connor
- Richard Poole
- Collin Schubert
- Robert Welsh
Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan
Sensei Sherry was born on July 9th 1943, near to Liverpool City Centre. While still at school, he became interested in Japanese martial arts and started to train at Judo. In 1956 he also took up Ju-Jitsu and it was while he was studying this he first started to become interested in Karate.
There were no Karate clubs in Liverpool at that time and along with several others, he helped found the Liverpool Karate club under the auspices of the British Karate Federation. He studied with Senseis Murakami and Mochizuki in the early '60s and from 1965 with Sensei's Kanazawa and Enoeda. He received his Shodan in 1966 from Sensei Enoeda, the first person in Great Britain to be awarded such a rank in Shotokan karate.
He was the KUGB's first Kata champion in 1967, and the next year, 1968, he became the first grand Champion by winning both the Kata and Kumite events. This was the start of a now legendary run of successes in National and International Championships. He first won the EAKF European Kumite title in 1968, and then went on to win other Individual European Championship titles and countless team events as a member of British and England teams.
In his competition Kumite, he was a fast and skilful fighter, noted for his stunningly fast Gyaku Tsuki which he combined with a very rapid Yori-Ashi (foot movement) to make him one of the most respected fighters on the International scene.
He was also a master of timing and tactics, skills that he now uses to coach the KUGB's international squad. Although recognised internationally as a fighter, it should not be forgotten that he dominated the Kata event in the first four KUGB National Championships, and that he achieved many successes in Kata in European and National Championships until his retirement from competition in 1977.
It was in 1966 that he, along with a small group of representatives from other UK Karate clubs, helped form the Karate Union of Great Britain.
Although very busy as a competitor and as an instructor, he immediately took an active part in the KUGB administration from its inception, and in 1973 he was elected as Chairman of the KUGB, and has been continuously elected to the post to this present day.
He has had many firsts in his long Karate career - he was Britain's first Shotokan Black Belt, the first 3rd Dan, the first qualified British Shotokan International Referee, and he now holds the rank of 9th Dan.
His coaching and management of the KUGB National Squad reached its peak at Sunderland in 1990, when the KUGB British Team defeated the JKA Japan team to win the JKA World Shotokan Karate Championships. Since then, the KUGB has taken many first, second and third place Team titles including 1st place in the last three European Shotokan Championships and last two World Shotokan Championships.
Quiet by nature, he is totally dedicated to Karate and the KUGB - he serves both with a passionate dedication that is an inspiration to others, and there can be no doubt that he will continue to dedicate himself to the KUGB to ensure that its remains the largest, most professional and one of the most respected Karate organisations in the World.
Sensei Terry O'Neill 8th Dan
Terry O'Neill was born in Liverpool on 27th February 1948, the son of a Police Officer. From an early age he had always been fascinated by stories of people with great physical strength - the ''super-heroes'', and this soon led to an interest in the martial arts.
He first started to train at Judo, but soon applied to join the Liverpool Karate Club, and like many of his contemporaries, he had to be less truthful about his age to get into the club.
His first teacher was Andy Sherry, with occasional visits by Murakami Sensei, Veron Bell, and Terry Wingrove and later, Kanazawa Sensei.
His first job was working as a security man at various venues where such stars as the Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers were performing. He then worked at the Cavern Club and continued to be employed in security work for the next 17 years.
His introduction to Kumite was in the 1967 KUGB National Championships, where, he says, he was soundly beaten in the Individual event due to inexperience. This state of affairs didn't last long, as he won the KUGB National Championships Individual Kumite Kata title in 1972, 73, 74, 75, 77, and 1978. He was three times the KUGB Grand Champion and from 1967 to 1981, he was a member of the Red Triangle Team who were KUGB National Team Champions on no less than 13 occasions.
A member of the KUGB International Squad from 1968 till 1982, he was also a member of the highly successful British All-Styles Squad who defeated Japan to win the 1975 World Championships held in Los Angeles, USA. It is not generally known that he was joint third in the 1974 World Championships that were held in Japan.
At his fighting peak in the early '70s, he was recognised as one of the World's most fearsome competitors. A master of innovation and tactical surprise, he had a dynamic and flamboyant fighting style that few could beat.
He always considered himself as a kicking specialist, but many opponents have fallen prey to his exceptionally fast Uraken/Empi combination and he out-punched Danny Bryceland to win the 1969 KUGB Individual Championships.
Whenever he fought, the audience followed his every move, expecting the unexpected. Few were ever disappointed - for example - the unique rolling Kakato Geri that he used to defeat Steve Cattle in the 1977 KUGB finals was one of the most spectacular and innovative techniques ever witnessed at a championship.
Tragically, his run as a competition fighter came to an abrupt end in 1982, when he seriously damaged the ligaments of his knee in an International match against Italy.
In 1972, he founded the premier UK Martial Arts magazine ''Fighting Arts International'', which achieved a world-wide reputation as one of the few really serious and influential magazines on the subject.
Another aspect of his life is his work with international film star Arnold Swarzenegger, having appeared in several of his films. He is currently much in demand as an actor with recent appearances in ''Civvies'', ''Comics'', and ''The Governor.'' He has also acted as martial arts consultant on many other films.
A senior member of the KUGB, he is also an International Referee and a KUGB Grading Examiner. he has been a member of the KUGB since its inception, and he says, ''that it is one of the great organisations'', and he hopes that it will continue to develop along the same lines as it has grown and developed over the last 45 years.
Sensei Bob Poynton 8th Dan
Bob Poynton was born on the 30th July 1949 at Walton in the City of Liverpool. He attended De La Salle Grammar School and on leaving school, enlisted as a civil servant with the Customs and Excise.
He saw 'Odd Job' (Harold Sakata) in the James Bond film Goldfinger, and decided that he wanted to take up Karate. In 1965 at the age of 15, he applied to the Liverpool Red Triangle Karate Club for membership. He had to 'fib' about his age, as the minimum age for joining was 16. The day he started at the club, Sensei Kanazawa was teaching, so he had his first Karate lesson with a Japanese 5th Dan, ex-champion of Japan.
In 1968 he gained his 1st Dan and left the Customs and Excise to become a full-time assistant instructor to Andy Sherry. He has many amusing anecdotes from those early days when they used to tour the country to teach. Clubs could only afford to pay a fee or travel expenses - not both - so they used to hitch-hike to the teaching venue; it once took them 23 hours to travel from Liverpool to Plymouth.
He was first selected for the KUGB squad in 1968 to compete in the IAKF European Championships in Austria. He was so excited about being selected that he left without his Gi. In those days it was not possible to walk into a sports shop and buy a Gi, so he had to fight in his first championships in a borrowed Karate suit.
In the 18 years between 1968 and 1985, he represented England and Great Britain as a member of both the KUGB and All-Styles teams, achieving many victories in National and International events. In 1976 he was the KUGB National Individual Kumite Champion and was Shotokan Cup Grand Champion in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
In his early competition days, he tended to favour attacking with kicks. However, during the semi-finals of the 1974 European Championships at Crystal Palace he suffered a broken leg whilst attempting a chudan mawashi geri on his German opponent. He broke it again competing at the KUGB National Championships the following year. This encouraged him to concentrate on his punches for a while, which he believes, in the long term, made him more versatile as a fighter.
During the period of convalescence from the injuries, he started to take an active part in the administration of the KUGB and he was appointed Affiliations Officer in 1974 and National Administrator in 2002.
Totally committed to the development and welfare of the KUGB, he says that he will always strive to maintain good communication between the Executive and the membership, so that the members are informed of, and understand, the decisions reached on their behalf.
He is proud to have been involved in the very successful KUGB Charity Appeals which have raised considerable sums of money and show that KUGB members are prepared to help others less fortunate.
His ambition is simply to see the KUGB maintain its position as one of the most professional Karate organisations in the world and is extremely confident of its future under the guidance and care of its Chief Instructor and Chairman, Andy Sherry, who he greatly admires as a Karate practitioner, teacher and ambassador.
Sensei Bob Rhodes 8th Dan
Bob Rhodes was born in Middleton, Leeds on the 3rd March 1946. He was educated at Harehills School, Leeds and he quotes his early interests a ''Sports in general, swimming, cricket, and football in particular''.
He intended to join the Merchant Navy as a draughtsman, but his paper were delayed and by the time they arrived, he had changed his mind.
In his 'teens he heard about a karate club in Leeds town centre which he promptly joined. He picked up karate quickly, and it was not long before he realised that the standard of tuition left a lot to be desired.
In 1967 at the age of 20, he discovered a club at Armley called the Leeds Shotokan Karate Club. On visiting, he immediately realised that the standard of karate was much higher, and he became a member. His first teacher at the club was KUGB International Team member Ron Wade.
Bob made rapid progress at the club and was soon fighting as a member of the Leeds team at local, regional, and national championships. He was also a member of the victorious British All-Styles Squad which beat Japan to win the 1975-77 World Championships in Los Angeles.
In 1971, he was first selected as a KUGB Grading Examiner and in 1974, he became a full-time instructor of the KUGB. He is also a member of the KUGB Technical Committee, and is also a qualified international referee.
He is noted for his hard dynamic fighting style, and he was strongly influenced by Sensei Enoeda, as can be evidenced from his specialisation of Kuzushi-Waza, that is, the application of foot-sweeps, trips, and throws to defeat an opponent.
He is also noted for his creative applications to Shotokan Kata. A staunch and supportive member of the KUGB, he says he will continue to work for the future development of the organisation.
Sensei Billy Higgins 8th Dan
Billy Higgins was born in Bootle, Liverpool on 14th August 1945. Taking a keen interest in sport from an early age, he took up boxing, gymnastics and football while still at school. In 1965 he started to study Wado Ryu Karate and he very quickly established himself as a fast and skillful fighter.
He was selected for the BKCC All Styles Squad and during training, he rapidly realised the high technical standard of the KUGB members of the squad. As he was having difficulty traveling to his Wado club, he decided to join the KUGB in 1970.
He has had a long and distinguished competition career, with many national and international titles to his credit. These include Individual 2nd in the WUKO All Styles World Championship in Paris 1975 and 1976 European All Styles Champion. He was captain of the highly successful 1975 British All Styles team that defeated the Japanese team to win the World Championships in Los Angeles. He was also a member of the very successful KUGB Senior International Team that won the Championships of Europe no less than five times!
He was coach and manager of the EKB squad and was squad coach for the KUGB Scottish and Southern Regions. He is a KUGB Grading Examiner and a qualified International Referee.
He is renowned for his fast and effective fighting style, particularly his lightning-fast Ashi-Barai/Gyaku-Tsuki combination which devastated his opponents and won him many events. Also noted for his dynamic Tai Sabaki, he is a popular teacher and examiner, always in demand around the KUGB clubs.
Since joining the KUGB, he has been a dedicated and active member of the organisation, particularly in the field of coaching. He intends to continue to be involved in making sure that the KUGB maintains its strength and technical ability in the future.
Sensei Jimmy Brennan 7th Dan
Jimmy Brennan was born in Liverpool on the 20th July 1952, the son of a publican. He joined the Red Triangle Karate club in 1972. He originally joined to learn self defense but soon became involved in the art and discipline aspects of Karate. After three years at the Red Triangle he passed his 1st Dan with Sensei Tomita.
Jimmy demonstrated a great talent for competition with natural timing and a strong and determined attitude. He was initially selected for the Red Triangle kumite team, helping them to victory on numerous occasions. His first team title was in the North of England championships in 1973.
Over a twenty year period in competition Jimmy has won many national titles including the Shotokan Cup, the EKB light heavyweight and many regional events and was placed in countless others.
Jimmy developed to become a consistently reliable member of the KUGB international squad and was part of the winning team at many European Championships frequently turning the tide when the odds were stacked against him and his team mates. He was also a member of the team when the KUGB won their famous victory over the JKA Japanese team in 1990. He retired from competition in 1993.
Jimmy is a professional instructor and as well as traveling to teach around the country, runs a number of successful Dojo's on Merseyside, with a large and loyal following. He derives great pleasure in seeing his students progress through the grades and on seeing them being selected for the KUGB national squad and perhaps become international competitors.
Jimmy is interested in all aspects of Karate and regularly trains with senior members of the Red Triangle including his 'baby brother' Frank. He is a KUGB 7th Dan and believes that all this was made possible by being taught over the years by Senseis Andy Sherry, Terry O'Neill, Bob Poynton and of course Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda who was always a huge inspiration to him.
Sensei Frank Brennan 7th Dan
Frank Brennan was born in the City of Liverpool on the 6th of May, 1960. He was always sport-oriented, and he took up Gymnastics while at school. At the age of 12 he tried to join the Red Triangle Karate club, but he was told to go and join the Judo club for a year, as he was too young. This was particularly galling, as his brother was accepted for the club, but it made him all the more determined to gain membership. In 1973, he was successful and started to train at the club under the tuition of Andy Sherry.
His introduction to Karate competition was in 1974, when he competed in the KUGB Northern Regional Championships. He entered the Junior Kata event, which he won. He was a 4th Kyu at the time, and it was indicative of things to come that he won the first competition he ever entered. His introduction to Kumite Shiai was even more dramatic. In 1975, while fighting for the Red Triangle team, Bob Poynton broke his leg in one of the matches. The team has no reserves, so the young brown belt, who had only entered the Kata event, was suddenly in the final of the Team Kumite event against Leeds. He fought one of Leeds' most experienced fighters, Andy Harris, and decisively beat him, scoring with a fast Ushiro Geri followed a few seconds later with a Jodan Mawashi Geri to help Red Triangle win yet again.
His first international appearance was with the KUGB Squad in the European Championships in Sweden in 1978, where he came 2nd in the Senior Kata event. The next year, in Belgium, he won both the Senior Kumite and Kata events to become Grand Champion of Europe at the age of 19, a feat that he achieved no less that four times.
As a fighter, he is rather unique, in that he has no particular speciality - he is equally at home using hands or feet, and quite often surprises his opponents with very dynamic combinations of some of the more unusual hand or foot techniques. As a senior member of the KUGB International Squad he led the KUGB team to victory over Japan in the 1990 JKA World Shotokan Championships in. He is held in great respect internationally - in an interview at the World Championships, the Japanese team coach, Ex-World Champion Masahiko Tanaka said that the one man that the whole Japanese Team were specifically trained to beat was Frank Brennan.
He is a staunch and loyal supporter of the KUGB, and works very hard to further the aims of the Association. Asked recently what he thought were the main strengths of the KUGB, he replied:
''The KUGB is fantastic. It has shown itself to be one of the great associations of the World, and I'm not just speaking about success in competition. I refer more to the attitude and dedication displayed by its members - people who practice Karate as an art who constantly train for the perfection of their technique, that's what I really like about it. Nothing is perfect, and there may be some glitches on the route, but it is a bit like life, like evolution - things change and get better, and I can only see the KUGB getting better all the time.''
Sensei Garry Harford 7th Dan
Garry Harford, full time instructor and KUGB grading examiner, was born in Salford in 1960 and was introduced to Shotokan Karate by a family member back in 1972. He took his KYU gradings under Sensei Sherry then graded to 1st Dan on the 14th March 1976 under Sensei Enoeda. Garry continued to grade under Sensei Enoeda up to his 6th Dan and gained his 7th Dan grading under Sensei Sherry on the 19th May 2007.
Garry trained every day prior to retirement and believes there are no hidden secrets or easy ways to achieve excellence as a karateka. The only way to achieve your best is to train regularly and hard with the best instructors available. Garry regularly travelled to Liverpool to train under Sensei Sherry and Poynton and maintains this practice by training twice a week with Andy Sherry, Frank Brennan and other senior grades.
His introduction to Karate competition was in the last BKCC All Styles Championships back in 1977. Garry was selected as a member of the first Junior KUGB Squad and competed at the 1980 European Senior and Junior Championships held in Bregenz, Austria. He won 1st place in the Junior Team Kata, 1st place in the Senior Kata and was part of the Team Kumite winners too.
His list of achievements include 1st place in Kata and Kumite in the Shotokan Cup and EKB All Styles Kumite Champion in 1987. Garry was also a member of the KUGB team that won the EKB Championship in 1985-88 inclusive. He is very proud to have been a member of the team that for many years dominated European Shotokan Karate Championships.
The highlight of his career was being a member of the team that won the 1990 World Shotokan Championships held in Sunderland.
As a fighter, Garry's style focused on speed, timing and quality of technique which was often displayed in his performances. He was very comfortable using both feet and hands to fight his opponents. Being very agile, he would maximize his kicking ability by making use of Mawashi-geri Chudan and spinning Ushiro-Mawashi-geri.
As an Instructor, Garry's personal sense of fulfilment was achieved in 1978 when his club team, Poynton SKC, won the KUGB National Championships after reaching 3rd place in the two preceding years. More recently, Garry has established his own club, the Shotokan Karate Academy, located in Hulme close to Manchester City Centre and enjoys success through teaching and training students at his clubs.
Garry is also the resident Karate Instructor for Manchester University and has been since he was just 16 years old. The University have won the KUGB Student National Championships several times over the last ten years. Four of the University club members have worked hard under Garry's instruction and are now part of the current England and Great Britain squads. Members have included Stuart Gordon who has won the National Kata several times, Vicky Phillips winner of World Team Champion Kumite, KATA and Kumite Grand Champion of which only one other has achieved this great accolade. In addition Vicky, Stuart, and Dean Field were also KUGB Team KATA Champions winners for six consecutive years!
Garry is a loyal supporter of the KUGB and is keen to contribute to the future success of the organisation. Garry is well known and liked as an Instructor, Grading Examiner and Referee. He often travels to other KUGB clubs and is part of the KUGB Referee contingency for both National and International Competitions. When asked what does Karate and the KUGB mean to him, Garry said:
"The KUGB is an integral part of my life as I have studied and trained Shotokan Karate for the past 39 years. I train and teach almost every day and hope to continue to do so until the day I die. I experience the same desire today to achieve my best as much as I did in my younger years. I truly enjoy training and being challenged by Andy Sherry and Frank Brennan as much as in the early days. I feel I still have a lot to offer students who aspire to gain the expertise and experience that I have gained over the years. Long may it last!"
Sensei Graham Adams 6th Dan
Graham started training in 1973 at Tyneside Karate club.
When he was a teenager he had a fascination with martial arts and had initially tried judo, then went along to a local karate club with some friends and eventually became hooked.
In all the years he has been involved with karate, it has continued to fascinate and interest him and he believes he has only scratched the surface in learning about it. Each year he continues to study and try to continue his progression in this his chosen martial art.
He found Sensei Eneoda a truly inspirational person and that when he was instructing and standing in front of you, made you give 100% and always brought the best out of you.
He currently teaches and trains at the South Tyneside Karate club.
Sensei Andrew Brown 6th Dan
Andy started training at the age of 13 after seeing a demonstration by the Aaisatsu Karate Club at his village fete in August 1981. Impressed with the speed and controlled power, combined with the discipline, he decided he had to learn what he had seen so enrolled with Sensei Jim Smith 5th Dan the very next week. There were clubs a lot closer to where he lived but the Aaisatsu, and especially Sensei Smith, had made such an impression that he made the 20 mile round trip 4 times a week, sometimes by bus, but mainly by push bike, for the next four years until moving to Chester.
Jim Smith started training in 1966 and founded the Aaisatsu Karate Club in 1970. His teaching methods, experience and caring manner hugely influenced Andy's Karate and life in general and he continuously trained under him for 22 years until Jim's untimely death in 2003.
Club gradings were nearly always held with Sensei Enoeda and Sensei Sherry and Andy was fortunate to take all his Kyu grades under these two world famous instructors. In 1985, Andy passed his Shodan under Sensei Enoeda and later that year attended Sensei's course at Crystal Palace for the first time. The varied training under Japanese instructors combined with the special atmosphere the course generated was unlike anything he had experienced before. He did not miss a course for the next 18 years and sometimes attended twice a year. His fondest memory of Sensei Enoeda is during a trip he and Bill MacKenzie made to Japan to coincide with the world championships in 1996. Sensei made time in his busy schedule to join them for a meal and not only did he take them to one of the best restaurants in Tokyo but he paid for the meal as well! He had the knack of making you feel like his only student whilst being Sensei to thousands.
As a 6th Kyu Andy began his competition career after making selection for the Aaisatsu 'C' team (it was a lot tougher in those days!) and fought in his first team kumite event in the Northern Region Championships where the team was placed 3rd. In 1986 Andy joined the Northern Squad under the guidance of Sensei Bob Rhodes and attended every training session until the squad was disbanded in 1992. He is proud to have represented the team in international competition in Sardinia and Brussels as well as numerous events in this Country.
Andy has taught at the Aaisatsu since 1985 and continues to help run the club, furthering the teachings of Jim Smith and the KUGB.
Sensei Lyndon Davies 6th Dan
Lyndon first started training at Aberdare Shotokan Karate Club in 1974. Aberdare had a long history in the KUGB being one of the oldest KUGB clubs in South Wales.
Lyndon was much smaller than his school friends and the Bruce Lee phenomenon, which had just hit Britain, gave the impression that a little guy could win! He soon learned that it wasn't that easy, but while not a natural, he found that he really enjoyed training. He was fortunate to have two very good instructors in Keith More, a tall, thin, really nice guy with excellent technique and Peter Menzies, a short, not so nice guy who was the most determined person he'd ever met (he has mellowed in his old age, but the determination is still there!).
Between them they instructed, encouraged and generally drove Lyndon on until, in 1978 he was awarded his shodan by Sensei Enoeda. Shortly afterwards he had to take over teaching at Aberdare SKC as both instructors had to stop training due to work commitments.
While he missed having a local instructor to help him improve, Sensei Sherry was and still is a regular visitor to South Wales and Lyndon tries hard not to miss a session. He usually finds that a session with Sensei Sherry highlights enough of his faults to work on until the next time!
While always a successful club, Aberdare became one of the top clubs in Wales. The importance of competing in both kata and kumite was always stressed and the club was fortunate to produce European medallists and British and Welsh Champions in both, something Lyndon is very proud of.
In 1987 Lyndon decided that he had to experience training in Japan. So, clutching a letter of introduction provided by Sensei Enoeda he got on a plane to Tokyo.
It was only when he landed that it occurred to him that it would have been a good idea to look for a hotel before setting off. He was only able to afford three weeks there but spent that time sightseeing during the day and training at the evening sessions. Fairly obvious now, but he hadn't realised that everything (not just the names of the techniques) would be in Japanese so any explanations would be wasted on him.
This was a major turning point as, being unable to understand what he was being told, he had to look very closely at what was being done.
Ever since, he has tried to watch exactly what his instructors are doing, as well as listening to them, while they're explaining how to perform a technique. "It's sometimes very helpful to see the unconscious adjustments we all make that we don't even think to mention".
As a brown belt he had been part of Welsh All-Styles Squad sessions, but it wasn't until the early eighties that he became part of the KUGB Welsh Squad. Lyndon was overjoyed to be selected for the KUGB Welsh team in 1985 and competed in kata and kumite at every World and European Championships from then until his retirement from competition in 1998.
Lyndon's competition highlights would be winning the Shotokan Cup, taking third in the Nakayama Cup (both for kata) in 1993 and holding the Welsh Kata title for seven years. He is particularly proud of the European Team kumite Bronze in 1986 as he is regarded as a kata competitor and it helps to remind people that, with numerous second and third places in the Welsh Championships, he wasn't that bad at kumite.
Karate has given Lyndon self-confidence, a wife (whom he met when she started training) and numerous friends all around the world - a lot to be thankful for.
Looking to the future, Lyndon is hoping that his twins who have taken up karate will be standing on the podium at the KUGB 50th Anniversary Championships!
Sensei John Holdsworth 6th Dan
John Holdsworth was born in Sunderland on the 1st August 1947. He was not particularly sport minded and was constantly bullied at school as he was quite small at that time. John initially tried Judo and Aikido in an attempt to learn self defence but neither Art was suited to John's personality. John later found his niche when he joined the Sunderland Martial Arts academy in January 1966 and began karate training under a 2nd Dan judo instructor.
John's first grading was in 1966 with Sensie Kanazawa where he was awarded 6th Kyu together with three other students who had graded previously. This meant that John was one of the four highest grades all of whom started to instruct shortly afterwards when the Judo instructor left the club. John has instructed ever since that time.
John later joined the Sendai Karate Club in Newcastle and from that started the Sendai Club in Sunderland. Johns competition days began with other Sendai members when they would travel the country entering every tournament possible in order to gain experience. Over the years John has achieved numerous tournament successes in both Kata and Kumite and has qualified as a referee with both the KUGB and EKGB. John is the only grading examiner in the North East of England, a position he holds with great pride.
John's passion is coaching others and he has attended many coaching courses and has a vast library of coaching books. His great love is working with others and is equally happy coaching for gradings or competition. Over the years John's students have achieved at the highest levels including coaching a number of 6th Dans, two world kata champions, and numerous European and National kata and kumite titles at both senior and junior level.
John currently teaches at the Ronin Karate Club in Washington and has trained and competed with many different styles over the years including competing in a local Karate league with two Wado Ryu students. Despite Johns friends from other organisations he will always be a strong supporter of the KUGB and believes it is by far the best organisation in the country. In Johns own words "the KUGB has more senior grade instructors and long standing members than any other organisation which shows its strength in depth. The KUGB has always produced quality throughout its membership for over forty years and I strongly believe that this will continue for years to come".
Sensei Bill MacKenzie 6th Dan
In 1975 Bill's older brother Chas, who was already training, invited him to a karate demonstration in Chester given by the Aaisatsu Karate Club with guest instructor Sensei Tomita (Sensei Enoeda's assistant at that time). Intrigued by the unusual techniques and impressed by the speed and power of Sensei Tomita, he joined the Aaisatsu and for the next 27 years, was instructed by Sensei Jim Smith a 5th Dan KUGB until his untimely death. Sensei Smith could appear quite stern, a large uncompromising karateka whom Bill came to know as a very caring instructor with a huge heart, who when asked for advice about anything, would happily give it. As a member of the KUGB Bill has been fortunate to have trained under some of the world's top instructors, the calibre of which is second to none. Any successes he has achieved in karate over the years reflects the quality of instruction he has received from the senior instructors of the KUGB, especially Senseis Enoeda and Sherry. Bill's first training under Sensei Enoeda was in January 1977 when he passed 4th Kyu. With his reputation preceding him Bill was more than a little nervous. Since then having trained under Sensei many times, especially on his courses at Crystal Palace, he learnt first hand of his wicked sense of humour. On more occasions than he cares to admit Sensei could find amusement in my inadequacies! Bill started competing in 1976 and has been fortunate to represent the Aaisatsu Karate Club until his retirement in 2002. Some of the highlights being, in 1976 being selected for the KUGB Junior Squad, then competing at the BKCC National Championships, gaining 3rd place in kumite. Selected for the England All Stars Junior Squad and competed at European level. At senior level Bill was a member of the Northern Squad, competing at the Inter Regionals. As a member of the Aaisatsu Karate Club Bill competed many times, the most memorable being;
- 1982 North West Open - Senior Kumite 1st
- 1986 North of England Open Karate Championships - Male Team Kata 1st, Male Team Kumite 2nd
- 1986 Chester & North Wales Championships - Male Team Kata 1st
- 1989 KUGB Northern Region - Team Kata 2nd
- 1983, 1986, 1987,1992, 2001, 2002 KUGB National Championships - Team Kata 3rd
- 1991 KUGB Northern Regions - Team Kumite 3rd
- 1991 KUGB Northern Regions - Individual Senior Kata 3rd
- 1997 KUGB Northern Regions - team Kumite 3rd
Having retired from competition in 2002, Bill hopes to continue his involvement in his capacity as a Referee. As Chief Instructor of the Aaisatsu Karate Club Bill hopes to inspire his students in the way he has been inspired.
Sensei Owen Murray 6th Dan
Owen started training in 1972 at Sendai SKC in Sunderland.
He took up karate after he lost his left hand in an industrial accident ten months previously which left him feeling vulnerable.
He had a very successful competition career, the highlights of which were:
- 1980 - Silver Shotokan Cup
- 1981 - Bronze Shotokan Cup
- 1981 - Gold European Championships, England
- 1982 - Gold European Championships, Austria
- 1983 - Silver Crystal Palace KUGB Nationals
- 1984 - Member of the team competing against the Japanese at Crystal Palace
- 1984 - Bronze World Championships, Germany
- 1991 - Captained the team which won the KUGB Nationals
In 1994 he received an MBE at Buckingham Palace partly because of the month he spent in Sierra Leone, West Africa, teaching Karate to both able and disabled people.
He found Sensei Eneoda very inspirational during his five years in the squad, especially because of his fighting spirit, which he tried to emulate.
Owen is teaching at Sendai Newcastle and various clubs in the area. He has his personal Dojo where he teaches private lessons.
He runs his own company providing personal safety for lone workers and hospital staff. He also teaches anti-bullying techniques to children in local schools.
Sensei Julie Nicholson 6th Dan
Julie was born in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear on the 12th November 1964.
She began her Karate training in January 1975 at the Sendai Karate Club in the YMCA Sunderland under the guidance of Sensei John Holdsworth and Sensei Jeff Barwick. She started training with her father Tommy, who mentioned that he was going to start Karate, Julie did not have a clue what it was but thought that it sounded good and asked if she could join as well. Julie was 9 years old at the time but had to wait until she was 10 before being allowed to join the Dojo- the demand being so high that there was a 4 months waiting list.
Julie began competing in 1976 and was a member of the KUGB national Squad from 1983 until she retired in 2000. During her time on the Squad Julie achieved many successes including 1st place in the Ladies individual Kata in the World Shotokan Karate Championships in 1999. However her championship highlight came in 2001 when she finally achieved her dream which was the first woman to become Grand Champion, winning both the Kata and Kumite events at the KUGB National Championships. As a result of this Julie also became the first woman to be presented with the Wilkinson sword as the most outstanding competitor. She was also the first woman to become Grand Champion at the KUGB Shotokan Cup in 1999. Julie was an outstanding competitor and very well respected by Sensei's Enoeda and Sherry.
Julie and her husband John Holdsworth now run the Ronin Karate at Washington Leisure Centre which is very successful and has produced many high level students.
Sensei Enoeda was a major influence on Julie's Karate, she spent 17 years as a KUGB Squad Member and his instruction and guidance contributed to her many tournament successes.
Sensei Michael O'Connor 6th Dan
Mike was born within the City Walls of Chester on the 23rd June 1950, making him a Cestrian, a citizen of Chester. Along with all the special privileges that this brings Mike felt he has been very privileged in his Martial Arts life.
He started Judo at the age of 11, training twice a week under 3rd Dan Miriam Thomas in Deeside, a half hour train ride and mile walk from the station, but he felt well worth it. He also trained with Sensei Osaka of the KNK and Sensei Higgashi, a Ju Jitsu and Iai instructor who also taught him many rare sword drawing techniques.
In 1965 Mike found a new Dojo, Handbridge BJA, and from 1967 to 1969 Mike taught Judo at Chester College. His introduction to Karate occurred in this period when two Karateka, Geoff Wilding and Mike Cotgreave, asked to share his dojo and friendships grew as Karate and Judo techniques were exchanged. When new Judo mats were needed, Geoff suggested training in Karate whilst saving for their purchase. However, the Judo club soon gave up hope of raising the required £400 and so on the 4th May 1969, Handbridge Shotokan Karate Club was established by Sensei Geoff Wilding as a totally non-profit making club.
Mike spent his initial years chasing the coveted Black Belt, eventually passing under Sensei Enoeda, who presented Mike with his own spare Black Belt; now threadbare it remains at home as his treasured possession. That was the start of a special friendship with Sensei Enoeda, that lasted right up to Sensei's death with many one-to-one classes at the Handbridge Dojo.
Always keen on weapons, Mike found an ally in Sensei Kase with whom he also had private lessons, particularly on the relevance of weapons to Kata and link between the three tekki kata. In 1980, he was privileged to have private training with Masatoshi Nakayama who inscribed his book as 'Sensei Enoeda's Strong Student' - both Sensei Enoeda and Sensei Nakayama signed all of Mike's Karate Books.
He became a KUGB Judge in 1976 and a KUGB referee in 1979 and continued with his love of refereeing, becoming an EKB referee in 1986.
Having not graded for 13 years Mike tried for 4th Dan with Sensei Enoeda only to fail on Kata. He soon returned to morning training at the famous Red Triangle in preparation for the retake, and was this time successful. When he prepared for his 5th Dan he went regularly to the morning classes at the Red Triangle and his seniors, Andy Sherry, Terry O'Neill, Bob Poynton and Frank Brennan all gave him great help and encouragement and he passed this grading first time, with Sensei Enoeda commenting that he had obviously trained very hard in preparation.
Mike has admitted that his sadness at Sensei Enoeda's death in 2003 remains deep and was compounded by the death of life-long friend Sensei Geoff Wilding in 2008. He feels however that both of them would be delighted to see him receive the Griffin Award to the Community for 40 years of running a non-profit making club and additionally, with the help of Sensei Brennan and the Red Triangle morning classes, pass his 6th Dan in the same year he attained 40 years KUGB membership.
Mike continues to be both an active referee and Instructor and is happy in the knowledge that the KUGB continues it's high standard of development of perfection of the character of its members under the guidance of Sensei Sherry the present KUGB Chief Instructor.
Sensei Richard Poole 6th Dan
Richard Poole was born in Nairobi, Kenya on 25th January 1958.
Following the death of his father in Kenya, he moved to the UK was brought up in Rhyl in North Wales with his younger brother.
As a teenager he competed for his county at swimming and at age 16 years along with his friend Russell he joined a new KUGB karate club instructed by Geoff Wilding. Such was the interest surrounding the Bruce Lee films that over one hundred adults attended the first training session. No children were allowed. The classes were kumite orientated which was particularly interesting given the number of ex boxers in the class.
Richard continued to train when he moved to Cardiff University in order to pursue a career as a teacher of Physical Education, training at Cardiff College of Education and graded shodan in 1977 in Merthyr Tydfil at the first dan grading taken by Sensei Sherry.
In 1977 Richard was selected to compete for the KUGB Welsh team and in 1978 for the Welsh All Styles team. He competed nationally and internationally before and after graduation until sustaining a C5 fracture (broken neck) in a climbing accident.
Following a long period of recovery Richard was once more selected to represent Wales and competed nationally and internationally until his retirement from competition in 1993. In addition to instructing at Cambridge University Karate Club and the Rhyl and Prestatyn karate clubs in North Wales, Richard has since 1993 been an international referee and has been KUGB Welsh Regional Officer since 1989.
With his background in education and business in the pharmaceutical industry Richard was well placed to contribute to the further development of karate in Wales and Great Britain. For many years he served as chair of both the governing body for karate in Wales and the Federation of British Karate Governing Bodies (BKF). It was during this period that he also managed the BKF team which topped the medal board in the 1996 World championships in Sun City South Africa.
Until recently Richard was Kata coach for the Welsh Team and is currently president both for the European Karate-do Association and the World Karate-do Association.
He is married with three children and works within the medical department of an international pharmaceutical company.
'As a teenager I consider myself fortunate to have stumbled upon a KUGB club in 1974. I have long been impressed with the way in which the traditional values and training methods of the KUGB compare with those from the best karate organisations across the world and I look forward to helping others experience those benefits'.
Sensei Collin Schubert 6th Dan
Collin was born in Kuala Lumpur on the 4th August 1934. After 2 years National Service, followed by service in the Malaysian Aboriginal Department and then 7 years service in the British Royal Medical Core throughout Malaysia he headed for London in 1962.
He started practicing Judo in 1968 but soon became interested in Karate and joined a Kyokushinkai club. He moved to Peterlee in the North East of England in 1969 and started training at a Wado-Ryu club. In 1970 John Holdsworth opened a Shotokan club at the Sunderland YMCA and Collin was so impressed with the standard that he immediately joined.
Collin stayed with Sunderland Sendai until he passed his Shodan in 1975 and then went on to found Kushiro SKC in Peterlee. A change of job in 1981 forced him to relocate and move to Gateshead where, in 1982, he founded the Gateshead Leisure Centre SKC.
Throughout his time at both Kushiro and Gateshead Karate Club,s Collin took great pride in helping many of his students to reach national competitor level, with many achieving places on the national junior and senior squads. He is also very proud of the number of students who have continued training and become very competent instructors in their own right. While Chief Instructor at Kushiro SKC he had the honour of being selected to meet Prince Charles with whom he discussed karate and the martial arts, and was later introduced to Queen Elizabeth II during the opening of Gateshead Leisure Centre.
Collin has been a National Referee since 1979 and Shotokan karate has been his life for over 40 years. He wishes to personally express great admiration and appreciation to all the KUGB Senior Instructors and especially gives credit to the late Sensei Enoeda, Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan for helping him to achieve so much.
His greatest achievement and proudest moment was gaining his 5th Dan at the age of 65, after some persuasion from Sensei Brennan to attempt the grade. He was then very honoured, and humbled, to face Sensei Brennan in kumite.
Collin then went on to pass his 6th Dan at the advanced age of 75 years, another great achievement for such a dedicated karate man.
Never resting on his laurels, Collin continues to train hard and is a regular at most KUGB training courses. He firmly believes that the philosophies and practice of karate can change peoples' lives for the better, and help them achieve greater happiness and success in life. Collin is a great inspiration to all KUGB Karate-Ka.
Sensei Robert Welsh 6th Dan
Rob was born in Dudley, West Midlands on 5th February 1955.
He trained as a Maths teacher at St. Luke's College, Exeter where he joined the karate club. In fact, he chose this college because two of his friends, who were already there, told him there was a karate club there! This was in September 1974.
Rob had always been interested in sport but found that his interest in karate quickly surpassed all the others. Wanting to train during holidays from college, Rob looked for a karate club near home and came across the Wolverhampton Shotokan Karate Club. Watching the first session he was awed by the "electric" atmosphere and decided to join on the spot. The instructor that night was Neil Thomas and over the next few years Neil, Mick Wragg and "H" Halford were his main instructors at Wolverhampton.
Back at Exeter Rob knew he had to find a shotokan club to train at and was put in touch with Dave Collacott who ran the Exeter Shotokan Karate Club. At the same time Ron Hicks started at St Luke's College so over the next few years Rob was able to train 2 or 3 times a week with Dave Collacott and twice a week in the college gym with Ron Hicks. As Ron was already a 1st Dan it was like having a personal tutor and Rob cites this time as being most important in his formative years.
During these years, whenever sensei Sherry travelled down to the Exeter club, he would stay in the area for the week, instructing at the local clubs, and Rob would follow him around, training most nights. Rob feels that sensei Sherry was a very strong influence to his training at this time. Another strong influence during these years was sensei Poynton. Whenever sensei Poynton was taking a session at the Bath club (Ron Hick's home club), Rob would travel the 80-odd miles to go and train.
Rob passed his 1st Dan in 1978 and his 6th Dan in 2006. In the years in between he regularly competed in National and Regional competitions in both Kata and Kumite. He gained most success in Kata, getting to 3 National finals, his best position being 3rd.
He passed his judging exam in 1980 and then his referee's exam in 1982. He has been seen every year since, refereeing in all National and most regional competitions.
Rob has worked "behind the scenes" in karate since the early '80s; as Central Region Squad manager, as Regional Treasurer and now as the Central Region Chairman. He is also a member of the Championship committee, helping to organise all National championships as well as International ones that are based in England.
He cites his training as the most important part of his karate life and will still be seen training on most Black and Brown Belt courses as well as all of the other National Courses. He is lucky enough to have a family who share his interest in Karate, all of whom are now Dan grades.
Rob's greatest influence in more recent years has been sensei Frank Brennan who he trains with several times per year, but Rob cites the great teaching ability of all the senior instructors as being a real strength of the KUGB. This is evidenced by the fact that at the time of writing, there have been 30 Lancaster Summer school courses and Rob has been to 28 of them!