Garry Harford is a full-time Instructor, member of the KUGB Technical Committee; Dan and KYU Grading Examiner. Garry has represented the KUGB for many years as a judge and referee for national and international competitions.
Garry also runs a very successful club, “Shotokan Karate Academy”, based in Manchester close to his home City of Salford. Garry was born in May 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 then gained his 7th Dan grading on the 19th May 2007 and his 8th Dan on the 2nd May 2015 under Sensei Sherry.
Garry 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 travels to the Red Triangle in Liverpool to train with Sensei Frank Brennan and other senior grades once or twice each week to keep his fitness and expertise razor sharp.
Rewind back in time to when Garry was just a youngster of 17 years; his introduction to Karate competition was in the last BKCC All Styles Championships back in 1977. Garry was then 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 includes 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 and able to move at speed, he would maximize his kicking ability by making use of Mawashigeri Chudan and spinning Ushiro-Mawashigeri.
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. Garry set up his current club in 1980 in Salford, the Shotokan Karate Academy, now located in Hulme close to Manchester City Centre and enjoys success through teaching and training students at his clubs. Garry has trained many who have gone on to perform at a very high level for the KUGB and also has members who still train today since those humble beginnings.
Garry was also the resident Karate Instructor for Manchester University from the age of 16 and after over 40 years only recently handed over the club to fresh hands. The University has 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 which is a 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, Dan Grading Examiner, Judge and Referee. He often travels to other KUGB clubs and is part of the KUGB Judge and 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 50 years. I train and teach almost every day and hope to continue to do so until the day I die. I am very keen to see the KUGB thrive and grow as it deserves to be one of the leading Shotokan Karateka associations in the world. I’m working with the Growth Committee to contribute to the future of the KUGB ensuring its growth and strength and evolving the structure to take the KUGB forward.
I still experience the same passion and desire today to achieve my best as much as I did in my younger years. I truly enjoy training and being challenged as much as in the early days. Long may it last! I can no longer compete but feel I still have a lot to offer students who aspire to gain the expertise and experience that I have gained over the years; passing on my experience and knowledge through teaching is my way of giving back to the KUGB. The youth of today are the future of the KUGB tomorrow. It is an honour to be a Dan and KYU Grading Examiner, to see youngsters progress through the ranks, build on their confidence and gain vital life skills that will carry them through not just Karate but every part of their lives and on to the next phase of their personal journey is everything to me.
Good luck and all the very best to the future of the KUGB and its members.