About the KUGB

About the Karate Union of Great Britain (the KUGB)


The KUGB - Karate Union of Great Britain - is a democratic body controlled by its membership and operates under an approved constitution.

All positions on its committees are elected at the Annual General Meeting by its members. It's fully audited accounts are presented annually for approval by the AGM. It is affiliated to European (ESKA) and World (WSKA) Shotokan Karate Bodies. It has clubs established in many Sports Centres, Universities and Schools. It is affiliated to Karate England, a multi-style body which represents many of England's most senior Karateka of other styles.
The KUGB has currently around 7,000 male and female members of all ages, several hundred of whom enjoy special Long-Standing Membership status, having trained with the KUGB for between twenty and forty five years.

Can anyone train with the KUGB?

Karate can be practiced by men, women and children.
Our students range from the very young - 4 is the youngest age because of insurance restrictions - to senior citizens.
Anyone who is in reasonable health can train at Karate.
Karate students will improve their health, self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem.
Parents and teachers continually report on the improvement in the behaviour of children who train regularly at KUGB clubs. This is because of our disciplined training structure and the emphasis placed on the Do, the behaviour aspect mentioned later.

The costs of training with the KUGB Karate is a reasonably inexpensive pursuit.

The KUGB club fees are low compared to many other sports and hobbies.
The main equipment needed is a Karate suit (a gi) and belt (obi).
Members also need to purchase an annual KUGB licence.

The KUGB has a National Administration Office and is also divided for administrative purposes into five Regions, which are:

  • Northern England
  • Central England
  • Southern England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • We also have a very strong contingent of clubs in Northern and Southern Ireland.

Our members enjoy many benefits, including the following:

  • FREE Instructors' Courses FREE Black and Brown Belt Courses
  • FREE Referees' and Judges' Courses
  • FREE Squad Courses FREE Travel and accommodation for our International Squads when competing abroad
  • Plus: Free and subsidised all-grade courses Subsidised Regional and National Championships

The KUGB is fortunate to have many members with professional qualifications in areas such as:

  • Karate and Martial Arts History
  • The Law Finance Medicine Health and Safety Education Management in public and private sector Marketing IT - and these members volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that the KUGB has all appropriate policies and structures in place to enable it to run in a professional way to the benefit of its membership.

The KUGB has worked with many establishment bodies over the years to develop standards and guidelines to help ensure that its instructors teach in a safe and professional manner. These include:

An instructor Qualification programme approved by the Open College Network

Tailored First Aid guidelines approved by the Red Cross

Guidelines for Teaching Children developed with the Child Protection in Sport Unit

An approved facility for its members to be DBS checked

An approved kitemark for clubs - currently being developed through Karate England

The benefits of Karate training with the KUGB.

The physical training required to reach a high level of skill in Karate promotes overall good health, fitness and well-being, The concentration, commitment and dedication required, help build a strong, confident and determined character.  There is a "Dojo Kun", or training code, which not only ensures a disciplined training environment but serves as a tool for improving behaviour, so that a true Karateka will make every endeavour to avoid violent conflict.

What is involved in KUGB training

There are two aspects to the practice of Karate, Karate Jitsu and Karate Do. Jitsu is the physical aspect, the practice of the blocks, punches and kicks etc. "Do" is the cultural aspect and concerns the development of character in areas such as self-discipline, self-control, self-confidence and respect for oneself and others.

The Jitsu, physical training, is structured into three main sections - Kihon (fundamental techniques), Kata (formal exercises) and Kumite (sparring). Each section has a range of complexity to suit the different levels or grades of students. Kumite will be introduced as basic blocking and counter-attacking, but will progress to free-sparring which develops the timing, reflexes and co-ordination necessary for self defence and competition.

The KUGB also puts great emphasis on the Do aspect, and always aims to produce students who have high standards in both these areas.

KUGB clubs are under the instruction of qualified Black Belts who are provided with the opportunity to attend free training courses dealing with all aspects of Karate and other skills such as first-aid, club administration, instruction skills (for all levels and ages), nutrition, anatomy and flexibility. There is an Instructor Qualification Programme where Instructors are assessed by KUGB Assessors of 4th Dan and above.

Standards are maintained by the KUGB Technical Committee whose members are 7th or 8th Dans.  KUGB students are entitled to take grading examinations after set periods of training. The gradings are conducted by appointed Senior KUGB Examiners; this helps maintain a uniform National standard and allows club instructors to interact with the most Senior KUGB Karateka.

There is a grading syllabus for all levels.

There are nine grades below Black Belt, known as Kyu grades with 9th Kyu, orange belt, being the lowest and 1st Kyu, brown with white, the highest, and with various coloured belts used to denote the grades between.

Achieving a KUGB Black Belt

There are 10 levels of Black belt or Dan grades, starting at 1st Dan. Students can achieve 1st Dan standard in 3 to 4 years, with regular training and instruction.  It then takes a minimum of 2 more years to achieve 2nd Dan, 3 years to 3rd Dan etc - which means that all Technical Committee members - all 7th Dan and above - have over 40 years Karate experience.

KUGB competitions Karate is an exciting and challenging sport.

The KUGB has competed Internationally since 1968 and has achieved numerous World and European titles in both team and individual events.
There are club and Regional events for all ages and grades, with opportunities for selection to the KUGB English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and British Squads.
There are separate championships for children and for students who are in full-time education at Colleges and Universities.
In 1968, our Chief Instructor Andy Sherry became the first All-style European Champion and later that year was selected to represent Great Britain as part of a European team which competed in a demonstration match against Japan at the Olympic Games in Mexico. More recently, he gave a demonstration with members of the KUGB for Lord Seb Coe, Chairman of LOCOG, the Body responsible for the organisation of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The KUGB Squads have continued this great tradition by taking numerous European and World team and individual titles over the last forty years - the KUGB England Squad are current ESKA European and WSKA World team champions.

Information for club members

Information is regularly emailed to KUGB clubs and posted on our social media as well as being displayed on this website.
This includes minutes of Executive and General Meetings, lists of events and various memos.
The club members will have access to this information through the club secretary, club notice boards, and bulletins and of course via this website.

How can an Individual join the KUGB?

Individuals may become members of the KUGB by joining a KUGB club and purchasing a KUGB licence.
For full details go to Joining the KUGB - Individuals.

How can a club join the KUGB?

Clubs may apply for affiliation of the KUGB by contacting the KUGB Administration.
For full details go to Joining the KUGB - Clubs.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from the National Administrative Officer.
For more information see our Contact Us section.