Began training in 1967 at KNK Manchester, regularly studying under Andy Sherry and eventually being invited to train at the Liverpool Red Triangle morning sessions. Gained Sho-dan in 1974 and turned professional same year. Had five dojos in the greater Manchester area, and full time dojo in Salford, as well as opening a KUGB Shotokan dojo in Merthyr Tydfil – also regular visiting instructor so Manchester University and Salford University, as well as guest instructor to the Aer Lingus airlines dojo in Dublin.
In 1985 I completed an Open University media course and began recording KUGB events in-between refereeing and judging at national and international events. As I gained more experience and enthusiasm for video, I invested in more professional equipment and started to put together a film and video collection which has over the years grown to be a large archive, forming the core of Legend Productions. I was asked to do a television stunt (kicking through a supposedly unbreakable plastic bus shelter panel) – this ‘unbreakable’ panel didn’t stand up to a yoko-kekomi and broke in pieces – the director was pretty impressed and we became friendly. The TV director’s name was Allan Bardsly, an award winning television documentary maker, and with his help I was able to spend many months learning from the professionals in various production and post-production facilities including BBC and Granada television. This became so time consuming that with great sadness, I resigned from the KUGB in 1988 – a Hell of a wrench, but something that was inevitable – but at least it allowed me to concentrate more on my love of television media, and also to promote Shotokan in general and the KUGB in particular. My own views on karate have always been, and remain – that the KUGB’s teaching and standards are of the highest order, their history stands witness to this fact and is a tribute to all the senior instructors, but in particular to Andy Sherry.
I continue my own training and still manage to teach both here in the UK and also the USA and Spain, but not as a full time instructor, just conducting seminars by invitation. My serious training now (time permitting) is with the Peter Consterdine (British Combat Association) – Peter’s a lifelong friend and a man who has a wealth of practical combat experience as well as a fantastic method of teaching – I’ll cover more of this in later articles.