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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Brian Smith

 

An Interview with Brian Smith

 

The Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU), led by Chief Instructor Mick Dewey, is one of the most successful and influential Shotokan groups in the UK. For over 30 years, this year (2012), SEKU has promoted and celebrated Shotokan Karate at the highest level. The standard of karateka and competitor alike is of the highest calibre, and to this day, the Union continues to develop the budding youth of the organisation, never resting on the laurels of successes of the past.

 

One very important figure integral and embedded within the structure and success of SEKU is Brian Smith. Along with 2012 marking the 30th year of SEKU, it also marks the 30th year of Brian Smith’s Lovedean Karate Club. Here within this interview, I speak to Brian Smith about his karate career that has spanned almost 40 years, discussing a wide variety of history and technical issues.

 

May I take this opportunity to congratulate SEKU, the SEKU seniors and students for the continuing success of the Union, hoping the success will continue for decades to come. – S. Banfield 2012

 

 

(Shaun Banfield)     Brian, thank you so much for being willing to be interviewed for our magazine. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.

 

(Brian Smith)     Thank you Shaun, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with other Karateka.

 

(SB)     SEKU celebrates its 30th year in action this year, what does this celebration mean to you and the SEKU family?

 

(BS)     The SEKU anniversary has an extra special meaning to me as it is also the 30th anniversary of my own dojo, Lovedean Karate Club. As for the ‘SEKU family’ it probably means different things to different people, but I know that the senior instructors (Sensei Mick Dewey & Sensei Mervyn O’Donnell and myself) have a great deal of pride in both the achievements and standards of the organisation.

 

(SB)     Congratulations on 30 years of Lovedean Karate Club. How has your club changed over the years would you say?

 

(BS)     Initially, training at the club was hard with myself still learning, and competing which meant leading from the front so to speak, but within 3 months of launch and at the first SEKU championships we came away with trophies setting a standard early on. “Has the club changed?” probably not, just evolved through a natural progression. Training is still hard, technical and students are encouraged to be pro-active. The type of training that I had in the early years wouldn’t suit the vast majority of today’s students, they ask questions and expect answers, and luckily I haven’t been caught-out yet!  Obviously membership has changed over the years with several, despite no longer training, keeping in touch, from those locally and some that have moved abroad.

 

(SB)     And do you think you have changed or evolved as an instructor in those 30 years? Please explain how?

 

(BS)     Yes, teaching has changed over the years, our understanding of body mechanics and improved knowledge of technique performance has moved on leaps and bounds but I still teach as I like to train, technical yes, but with a lot of hard work to progress and move on. For my students I only ask one thing, should they be the best in class or not if they give 100% no problem, what more can you ask for? In the past 10 years or so I have changed my teaching style to one of four methods. 1. As an instructor: teaching a general class as one unit. 2. As a SEKU grading examiner: trying to eliminate problems early that are likely to show at a grading (I don’t grade my own students by the way). 3. As a judge/ referee and why points are added or reduced for both kata and Kumite. 4. I will have to keep that one to myself Shaun just in case some opponents read this; I have to keep something back.

           

(SB)     You started training in 1974, am I correct? Can you please tell me about your introduction to the Martial Arts?

 

(BS)     Yes Shaun, June 1974; where did all of those years disappear to? 38 years of blood, sweat and at times, tears. My introduction to martial arts was in all probability the same as most people who started at that time, a couple of Bruce Lee films (even though I was under-age), wanting to be a black belt in 3 months only to realise that it was going to take me a little bit longer than I initially thought, progress seems to be faster in the films. I have to admit that I fell into a good club first time (Portsmouth Karate Club) through more luck than judgement, without things like the internet etc research became trial and error but I have no regrets and have never looked back since that first class.

 

(SB)     And who was your instructor at this point, can you please tell me a little about him?

 

(BS)     My first regular instructor was a guy called Dave Hinks, an instructor from Portsmouth Karate Club. We trained at a satellite club from the main Portsmouth dojo, training twice per week set up due to the boom years of the 1970’s. Dave is a mild mannered, easy going individual with hands the size of breeze blocks, when Dave hit, you stayed hit. Luckily his control matched his temperament. After a few months several of us had to move to the main Portsmouth dojo to progress and grade with classes increased from twice to three per week. Training was a bit raw back then and about a week after moving, Phil Elliott (one of Portsmouth senior instructors) asked Dave to tell us to “stop trying to kill people”, we knew no difference and just went about our business in our normal manner, a reflection on the tough classes that Dave always gave.

 

(SB)     Your early years of training must have been intense and exciting, can you please share some memories or stories that could perhaps convey the kinds of experiences you had in your very early training career?

 

(BS)     With the increase in training and after gaining my 7th kyu, classes stepped up to five per week, even harder training with Phil and Sensei Mick Dewey plus Sunday morning training along Southsea sea front and as a yellow belt I was now able to join the “ colour belt class” (you were white belt until 7th kyu back then). Enoeda sensei came down for one of his regular 3 monthly grading visits during the very hot summer of 1976. After about an hour of the Saturday afternoon class sensei suddenly called a halt to the class and had everyone sit down for a ‘heat break’.

 

Sensei Dewey came running over “Sensei wants a word”, me a mere purple belt being asked to speak to one of the karate ‘gods’. Sensei then called up a new dan grade, Salim Harrisy, telling us to continue with jiyu Kumite (free style) until yame. As I have said before, training was always hard and both of us gave all we could to impress Sensei, Salim as he had not long gained his shodan and me as I was grading next day. Enoeda sensei shouted out instructions, back then his English wasn’t that good but my Japanese was even worse yet he still managed to get his point across in a manner only Eneoda sensei could. Twenty minutes later he called yame and continued with the rest of the class, at least SOME had a rest as it appears that Salim and I had been the afternoon entertainment. Looking back it couldn’t have been too bad as I had the honour of training with sensei  not long before his passing. Again sensei Dewey came over “ sensei wants a word”. My initial reaction was “not again” but this time he just wanted to say hello and shook my hand. That I must admit was one of the highlights of my career being recognised by Enoeda sensei after a break of over 25 years, making all the hard work worthwhile.

 

 

An Interview with Brian Smith

 

 

(SB)     During this early part of your career, did you have exposure to other Japanese instructors from the JKA?

 

(BS)     Back then one of Enoeda sensei assistants was Tomita Hideo sensei, a man who I don’t think I ever saw without a smile on his face. He was well known for his Sunday morning classes. 250  kizamu-tzuki, gyaku-tzuki BOTH SIDES combination followed with the same number of kizami-mae-geri, mae-geri , and on to Bassai Dai over 21 times of which he did every single technique. This was gruelling enough for senior grades let alone those who were due to grade that afternoon, but in fairness he did reserve this type of class to the brown belts and above.

 

I did have the honour to train with Nakayama shihan, a lesson never to be forgotten. As he walked into the dojo my initial thought was “I am going to learn some good stuff today” and worked my way as far forward as possible to get the best view. His class consisted of kata but most of all basic techniques. I couldn’t get his demonstration of technique against the JKA captain Tabata sensei out of my mind, the effortless and smooth manner in which he moved to evade a very committed attack to block and counter. Travelling home it was only then that I began to realise that good form and basics meant good Kumite as the majority of outstanding karateka can do both. His class totally influenced my future as having good basics also meant looking after the body as it’s not karate techniques that causes injury, only when WE perform them incorrectly.

 

(SB)     You touched on Mick Dewey briefly in a previous answer. He was, in fact, one of the very first people interviewed as a part of the ‘The Shotokan Way’ launch, back in 2006, can you please tell us a little about him, firstly as a karateka?

 

(BS)     With sensei Dewey what you see is what you get, so to speak. His style of karate differs greatly to my own as we have completely different body types. Unlike many instructors he is able to instruct in differing ways to suit an individual’s body type, ability and needs. Towards the end of his competition career I fought alongside him in the Portsmouth team, always first out and back with a first win under our belt. His commitment to karate is second to none, some say it’s because he is a professional instructor, but I believe it would be the same had he remained an amateur. In the dojo he has brought on a great many number of students, most of which have forgotten all the help and guidance he has given them, something he has always given me for both myself and my club.

 

(SB)     And how about, as a man, friend and Chief Instructor?

 

(BS)     For me I have always believed that in all walks of life respect has to be earned and does not go with the job. He has been a family friend for well over 30 years as it was through him at Portsmouth Karate Club that I first met Julie (my wife) in 1981. He has been SEKU’s Chief Instructor from the initial launch yet remains open to change, continuous learning and progression should it benefit both students and SEKU. Sensei leads the SEKU technical panel both around the table and in gis for our private classes. In these classes we discuss and perform techniques, kata and Kumite for a common outcome and standard, something many, if not most senior instructors/ associations are reluctant to do. So Shaun to answer your question as a Chief Instructor he’s respected, authorative but not dictatorial in his approach to karate.

 

(SB)     Who else, throughout your long training career would you say has been incredibly influential on your karate?

 

(BS)     Some influential instructors I have already mentioned but I have learnt from every single one that I have trained with in some form or another. Mervyn O’Donnell sensei’s (SEKU General Sec) style of teaching is quite unique really. During class I always felt in control of what I was doing and the pace I wanted to train at, yet it was only AFTER class that I began to realise just how hard he made us all work without knowing it. When Dave Hazard sensei joined SEKU his type of training was ‘RIGHT UP MY STREET’ with his flamboyant techniques and technical excellence. We have a similar build, rapid twitch for kime to go along with spirit. With sensei’s Dewey, O’Donnell and Hazard together with their own teaching styles complementing each other in different ways we had an almost ideal balance, so to answer your question both Dave and Mervyn influenced me greatly at separate times of my progression.

 

(SB)     Let’s talk about your competition career, you enjoyed a successful and fruitful career, can you please talk us through some of your most significant moments?

 

(BS)     Thank you for your comment Shaun. Two immediately spring to mind. SEKU held its first championship in 1982 where I reached the semi-final to meet a guy called Chris Spiller. Towards the end of the match and leading by wazari I tried something a ‘bit flash’ in the hope of finishing the bout. Chris however, had other ideas resulting in me dropping to the floor after walking onto one of the best chudan punches I have seen (or felt) a well deserve ippon and win for him. The following year I again reached the kata final to defend my title. My main rival for a number of years was Nigel Blight. Nigel usually performed UNSU in a manner that would still score very highly today. I knew that I had to do something different from the previous year so I trained for 6 months on Sochin. This was a new kata not generally practiced as much then. I went up before Nigel who once he saw my different to normal kata and performance of it was ‘blown away’. Again hard work had paid off.

 

(SB)     Sochin is a powerhouse of a kata. What do you think is required in order to execute the kata well, and what should be focussed on?

 

(BS)     What is required? Good question Shaun, Sochin I feel no other focus or requirement is needed than that of any of the other kata. (a). A good understanding of the movement with no over exaggeration or additional moves adopted from training aides, after all if it’s right it’s right, you cannot therefore get it any better. (b). A good understanding of application. This should gain you a visualisation, clarify performance and increase in zanshin. (c).Knowing when to apply and the correct amount of power during performance. If pushed I would say more practice is required until you are happy with it and then start again.

 

(SB)     When I saw you at the most recent Legend Open Championships, you commented that people often say that things aren’t as good as the ‘good old days’, yet you disagree and think things have improved. In what ways have things changed in the last 38 years of your training career?

 

(BS)     We all like to think that our time was better, but in reality it just makes us feel good but honestly, I really do believe that karate is technically better than it was five years ago let alone thirty eight. Our understanding of body mechanics and technique has improved, and teaching methods have progressed to make today’s karate more refined. The physical side of the 1970’s type karate still has a place in the dojo, just not every class.

 

(SB)     What is your favourite Kata and why?

 

(BS)     I suppose I haven’t got a favourite kata to speak of it really depends upon what I am working on at any particular time but if pressed I would have to say Jion. I know some people may find that strange with some of the flamboyant ones available to choose from, but in MY OPINION when performed well it is the epitome of Shotokan karate. Jion shows all of the attributes of Shotokan, smoothness and control of movement, hard and soft techniques but best of all the dynamic control associated with Shotokan. I had some success practicing this kata, winning a few championships as a brown belt, passing my shodan performing it, so that may have a bearing on why it is at least one of my favourites. It’s strange really as my son Elliott has followed a similar route in having won trophies performing it and remains his brown belt kata of choice, no influence from me I might add. Looking at the other end of the scale there are a couple of kata that aren’t on my favourite list as they don’t suit my body type but in general I tend to practice all that we currently practice.

 

(SB)     Jion is a very dignified kata, and one that – as you said – shows so many of the attributes of Shotokan. When working with your son Elliott, and when practicing it yourself today, what do you focus on?

 

(BS)     As I mentioned before the dynamics in Jion I find fantastic. Like many other things in karate maintaining standards is an on-going project, with Jion, just trying to maintain a high level of dynamic kime is a challenge in itself. Working with Elliott we try to identify areas of weakness, polish and practice them separate in sections with sporadic complete kata practice. This method seems to work for us as we find it helps to prevent practicing bad habits whilst trying to add new good ones.   

 

(SB)     When you are teaching Kata, what would you say is your focus – form, function or an emphasis for competitive success?

 

(BS)     I really enjoy teaching kata, from Kihon to Wankan. I still find it a challenge to improve and disguise the teaching from my students until I’m ready to let them know which kata we have been practicing. Form or function- both really as good form equals good function and vice versa. I like to take sections from kata, cannibalise it for bunkai but ALWAYS, ALWAYS finish the kata in its purest form. I find kata to be the most challenging. For Kumite you can train for a whole year only to go out due to poor control. Yes, you may have won the bout due to disqualification but you are still unable to progress through injury. Kata however, you only lose due to two reasons, You make a mistake or the opponent was better than you. Competition success is great but personally I would rather lose but perform it correctly rather than change to an incorrect performance just to win.

 

(SB)     A bugbear of yours regarding kata is the needless changing that seems to take place. Could you discuss this further for me?

 

(BS)     Changes in kata have become the “norm” for some over a short period of time. Different interpretations for one instructor to another and associations soon gain momentum with obvious results. I found it profoundly disappointing to attend national, European and world events only to see the same katas performed differently and in some cases almost unrecognisable. For us in SEKU it was decided to revert to the standard set by the JKA. As an established karateka I found some of these ratifications awkward to say the least, yet after only a few classes things began to get easier but need constant practice to prevent old habits returning. If only all of us used the same standard form I think the general standard would take a giant step forward very quickly.

 

An Interview with Brian Smith

 

(SB)     There also seems to be additional moves that appear in kata from here and there. Why do you think this is?

 

(BS)     To a certain point I can fully understand changes in kata but additional moves can only be down to poor teaching, or lack of understanding and movement. Some instructors tend to “over analyse” techniques, breaking down movements to such an extent that students cannot perform without it, although it was only meant to be used as a teaching/training aid. A prime example can be seen in Heian Yondan, prior to the first yoko geri keage some students stop, stand up to gain balance, breaking down what should be a fluent motion but instead this then becomes part of their normal performance. Coming from an engineering background I was always taught to “get it right first time”, a principle I try to implement in my teaching today.

 

(SB)     Shotokan seems to going through ‘troubled waters’, against the tide of sport influences, with even most ‘traditional’ competitions having a disconnect from the values of Karate-Do. Do you think Shotokan is going under, and where do you think it will be in 10 years time?

 

(BS)     A few years ago especially, Shobu Ippon events seemed to take a nose dive with some less traditional forms taking over but more recently numbers have began to pick-up again. I feel karate in general has hit a plateau, levelling out at current numbers but the real problem I feel are the smaller, less organised associations taking juniors too young, when they stop training they never return as they have already been there and done that, usually wrongly I might add. Shotokan in 10 years, yes it will still be around but it will never return to the levels we have seen in the past.

 

(SB)     Why do you think numbers in recent years have started to pick up?

 

(BS)     With the numbers in Shobu Ippon events  slightly  on the up’ could be down to a number of reasons but I would like to think that they have tried the more sporting type of karate competition, found that it’s not for them and returned to our more traditional type. Some years ago I attended the World Championships, as we walked through the door the event had already begun. A member of the British team was losing by 1 wazari. The tension was electric, one mistake and he would be out of the competition. Drama, tension, a bit like a penalty shoot-out in football, maybe, just maybe that is what has drawn some people back to Shobu Ippon.

 

(SB)     SEKU has lasted the ‘Test of time’, continuing after over three decades. To what do you attribute this success?

 

(BS)     Yes we have weathered well over the years but also it has changed a great deal. There are only a small percentage of people remaining from 30 years ago. New clubs and instructors have come along but in general, steady hands at the helm, students and instructors willing to train hard, progress and change for the better, but the main emphasis has always been the practice of traditional Shotokan karate.

 

(SB)     How are new clubs and new instructors supported in order to ensure they continue to develop?

 

(BS)     New clubs and instructors wishing to join SEKU are usually given the opportunity to “try before you buy”. They are invited to train in one of our instructor classes or black and brown belt courses with full access to senior instructors for advice right from the start. Most notice straight away that although it may be an instructor class, egos are left at the dojo door with everyone treated equally. Required changes to the “SEKU way” are not expected immediately, but at a pace that suites both the instructors, and their students alike. Whatever the outcome they will be made welcome.

 

(SB)     All instructors go through phases of interest and focus. At this point in your teaching and training career, what is your focus?

 

(BS)     Totally agree Shaun our phases do change during the course of training. A friend of ours (Dave Hazard sensei) once told me that “a higher grades peaks and troughs become longer and deeper the higher we go” - how right he is. At this moment I am on the way back up, I’m enjoying teaching, training and even refereeing. With karate there is always something to improve. Once we improve one thing there is something else to work on. As we work through all of the stances, kicks, blocks etc we always end up back at the beginning trying to progress the very thing that started it all off. When teaching, the focus will change from an up and coming kyu grading, preparing students for dan grading, championships or just general classes. At this particular moment my main focus is that of Lovedean Karate Club and my own general training, but as long as both my students and myself enjoy training and I have something to offer, that is focus enough.

 

(SB)     The SEKU squad, to this day, is a force to be reckoned with, having a successful presence across most categories on the Shobu-Ippon competition scene. Can you talk us through the structure of the squad, how it is run, and how SEKU manage to nurture talent?

 

(BS)     The squad runs independently from SEKU and it is self –financing. The squad is taught by some senior and most experienced instructors and has its own team manager. Students are identified at championships, courses or by their own instructor’s recommendation and then invited to attend. They hold open classes twice per year giving all SEKU clubs the chance to have representatives take part. Juniors invited to train do so with the main class, this ensures that the transition from junior to senior level is seamless, a system that is beginning to pay dividends with nearly ALL squad members training for both kata and Kumite. A high tempo work rate, good karate spirit and zanshin are just some of the pre-requisites required before being invited to squad classes. Every squad member, junior/senior, male/female have to compete for their place, attend regularly both at squad classes, courses and at their home dojo. Selection is never automatic regardless of talent, your place has to be earned. The system seems to suit the SEKU organisation and competitors alike, the results tend to speak for themselves.

 

(SB)     You are involved in refereeing at many shobu-ippon events. Typically, it must be said, that unlike WKF events where refereeing and the referee structure is firmly in place to ensure high standards, shobu-ippon events often fail to deliver on the standards of refereeing – present company excluded of course. What do you think needs to be done to further raise standards of referees?

 

(BS)     In any form of competition the best referees or judges are usually former competitors. They understand tactics, timing and zanshin, karate I believe is no exception. Unfortunately many championship competitors cease from competing only to then walk away despite still having a great deal to offer. The result is therefore we have to run championships with who turns up on the day. I have to agree that the WKF events are more organised than ours, maybe some of the better refs could be asked to attend rather than just expected to. A possible reason may be that of varying rule sets, the WKF seem to all sing from the same hymn book whereas shobu events tend to vary. Standardising rules (especially kata) would I believe enhance both officials and student performances alike. Overall Shaun I believe that to improve our refereeing standards we require more ex high quality competitors, standard rule sets and a direct invitation for our best people to attend.

 

(SB)     The breath is vital in karate and is something you focus on. Could you please discuss this vital feature of karate?

 

(BS)     Breathing, without it we cannot perform correctly or efficiently resulting in poor kime with a loss in stamina. Some instructors and clubs (wrongly in my opinion) teach their students to make a noise when breathing, an effective teaching aid but just builds in an inherent problem which is almost impossible to eradicate later. The timing for our breathing will be one of the most difficult for most students to master, but for all of us it will be the first thing to go when we have a break from karate and the last thing to come back when we return to the dojo.

 

(SB)     And how about Kime?

 

(BS)     Kime has to be the most difficult aspect of karate to master and just as difficult to teach. Each instructor will find their own method of getting it across to students. Me, I found mine while watching a golf lesson, used their principle, changed it into a dojo environment with almost instant results. Ultimately kime is the culmination of good technique, timing, muscle contraction and relaxation, breathing, movement and timing, so to get it right I would say it just comes down to more regular all-round training at a good dojo with good instruction.

 

(SB)     Hip rotation is a very important, but often mistaught and practiced feature of Shotokan. Can you please explore this for me, and give me an insight into the most important things that should be considered and focused on?

 

(BS)     Many students have little or no hip rotation most of which can be attributed to poor stances. In our front stance we have to move our hips from 45 to square, and narrow stances reduce the amount of rotation available. The resulting technique is usually poorly performed whilst trying to compensate for a lack in power. I always try to ensure that the hip movement is in a forward and positive motion, negative hip “pull back” has a feed -back through the body but is far less effective than it should have been. Focus I believe should therefore be to get the stances correct with techniques performed positively.

 

An Interview with Brian Smith

 

(SB)     Could you please discuss new training methods that you advocate, and find relevant and effective?

 

(BS)     As I said before Shaun, karate is better technically than ever. Early in my career like most of us we just did as we were told, the karate way back then. I was in a book shop with a very senior instructor waiting while he read through a judo book, stopping and passing comment as he went. Some weeks later I noticed in one of his classes some of the judo moves from the book adapted to karate, I have kept an open mind since. There are now a great number of well-educated students, some with sport science degrees etc bringing modern methods into the dojo. Some of these have a good input to the class but the more traditional methods also have a place too. If I can find a new way to teach or perform I will use it but essentially we must maintain the dojo spirit and zanshin.

 

(SB)     Are there any points I have neglected to ask you about that you would like to discuss?

 

(BS)     A question we get asked by parents is “how young do you take children?” surely that question should be “how old do they have to be?”.  In my view many clubs take children too young, karate can be very strenuous, placing a great deal of strain through an ever developing body. How can you install karate principles into a 4 year old? Juniors are the future both as students and instructors yet training too early can put a stop to both as they may have abilities that may never be accessed. Training too young ultimately means stopping too early, never to return, as I have mentioned earlier, they have already been there and done that.

 

Recently we have seen a number of high profile athletes suffering injuries from cuts and bruises to cardiac arrests. We compete and officiate at high level tournaments with control of powerful techniques right on the edge, yet, I feel that the level of first aid at some championships is insufficient, something that should I feel be addressed the sooner the better.          

 

(SB)     Can I please say a big thank you for your time and effort with this interview, it has been a pleasure!

 

(BS)     Firstly Shaun, thank you for taking the time and effort to ask some very thought provoking questions during the interview. The answers I must stress are my opinion only. There will be people who both agree and disagree with my thoughts but debate is healthy, promoting progress. Lastly can I take the opportunity to thank all of my instructors past and present on my journey so far. I have yet to come away from a class (there have been a few over the years) without learning something from both training and teaching. Lastly the biggest thank you has to go to my family for their help, guidance and understanding over the years. My parents who backed me all the way when things went wrong, my wife Julie, daughter Erin and of course my son Elliott. Good luck in your future karate development, I am sure that our paths will cross again.

 

 

 

 

Dedication to Brian Smith 6th Dan

from SEKU Chief Instructor

Mick Dewey 8th Dan

 

 

Brian Smith began his karate training with Portsmouth City Council Further Education whom the Portsmouth Karate Club supplied Instructors to around 1974.

 

Brian was one of dozens of people alerted to the Martial Arts by popular films at that time.   As we all know, probably 95% or more of those aspiring Karate-Ka don’t see it through and being a bit of a cynic I naturally thought Brian was one of those.  But how wrong was I! – Brian continued through his gradings at the Portsmouth Karate Club (Honbu Dojo to the Shotokan of England Karate Union – SEKU) with an array of top JKA Instructors who visited the Portsmouth Club at that time, led by Enoeda Sensei under the weight of the KUGB.  Brian earned both his First and Second Dan following the Annual Enoeda Sensie weeklong training courses held at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, South East London.

 

Over the years, Brian entered many tournaments with Portsmouth KC, winning many trophies and various honours with SEKU.

 

When in 1982 we formed the South of England Karate Union (it was changed to Shotokan some time later) Brian took the opportunity to create the Lovedean Karate Club.  The club has over the years produced many good solid Traditional Karate-Ka and Tournament Champions including his young son Elliott.

 

Brian is a quiet man and enjoys his family – wife Julie who he met at the Portsmouth Dojo where they both trained, daughter Erin and son Elliott who can be seen regularly picking up awards at Tournaments.

 

Brian has remained devoted to Traditional Shotokan Karate and to the SEKU cause, through his diligence and enthusiasm has gained the respect of his peers and Senior Instructors. Brian has progressed from assistant Instructor at the Portsmouth Karate Club, Chief Instructor at Lovedean Karate Club he has progressed through the Dan Grade Ranks with SEKU and gained 6th Dan in March 2004.  He is a Top Tournament Referee and through his dedication, Brian has become a Senior Instructor and Grading Examiner to SEKU,

 

Mick Dewey 8th Dan

Chairman/Chief Instructor to SEKU