Greg Hegarty - 6th Dan
Greg started Karate in 1984 at the tender age of 6 under the watchful eye of his uncle, Ronnie Christopher (Former World, European and KUGB National Champion). He passed is 1st Dan in 1988 at 10 years old and his 2nd Dan two years later.
Having to wait until he was 21 to grade again, Greg focused his attention on competition karate and at the 1991 KUGB National Championships won a silver medal in the Boys Under 5ft Kumite. This success led to him being invited by Sensei Andy Sherry to train with the KUGB England Junior squad. At the age of 14 Greg was one of only three Squad members under the age of 16. Having spent many a weekend as a young boy sitting on the stairs of the Red Triangle watching the likes of Frank Brennan, Garry Harford, Ronnie Christopher, George Best and Elwyn Hall being put through their paces by Sensei Enoeda this was a massive milestone in Greg’s life and fulfilled an ambition of his from the day he started Karate.
Greg went on to become an integral part of both the KUGB English and British teams over many years.
After representing England as a Junior, Greg went straight into the British Senior Team for the JKA World Championships that were held in Japan, helping the team achieve bronze medal success. Later that same year he went on to win an individual bronze in the Senior Men’s Individual Kumite at the ESKA European Championships in Switzerland.
Greg continued to compete domestically and internationally in the proceeding years with great success. Many titles followed, and in 2003 in what Greg describes as his most memorable year, he was crowned Men’s Senior Individual Champion at both the KUGB National Championships and Shotokan Cup.
Due to injuries and family commitments Greg had to stop competing in 2004 but after training for his 5th Dan in 2013 and 10 years after his last competition he decided to return to the competition arena, going straight back into the KUGB England team. More success followed and Greg was an integral part of the teams that subsequently won the WSKA World Team title and two European Titles. During this time he also won bronze medal in the Men’s Senior Individual Kumite at the ESKA European Championships - the same event as he achieved a bronze some 16 years previously!!!!!
Greg finally drew a line under his competitive career in 2017. Greg says he owes a lot of his success over the many years to the fantastic instruction and encouragement he has received by all of the KUGB Senior Instructors past and present, he continues to train with Sensei Frank Brennan and Sensei Garry Harford as often as possible.
Greg has now moved on to the next chapter in his karate journey and runs Solihull Karate Academy as a full-time dojo. As part of the wider KUGB family, Greg says he is proud of his role in enriching people’s experience within that family and making them understand the ethos and characteristics we are trying to pursue. In his own words Greg says “I want them to feel a range of emotions when they walk through the door of the dojo, that of family, of teamwork and that of self-determination and belief.”
His son Thomas along with other members of the club are current members of the KUGB England Squad, and have gone on to represent the country with success at international level, something that Greg is immensely proud of.