The Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) – 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 and its accounts are presented annually for approval. It is affiliated to European (ESKA) and World (WSKA) Shotokan Karate Bodies.
It has clubs established in many Sports Centres, Universities and Schools. The KUGB has members of all ages, several hundred of whom enjoy special Long-Standing Membership status, having trained with the KUGB for between twenty and fifty-five years.
The KUGB has a National Administration Office and is divided into six Regions, which are:
- Northern England
- Central England
- Southern England
- Northern Ireland
Can anyone train with the KUGB?
Karate can be practiced by anyone.
Our students range from the very young – 4 is the youngest age because of insurance restrictions – right through to senior citizens.
Anyone who is in reasonable health can train in Karate, regardless of health issues or difficulties.
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.
The cost of training with the KUGB is a relatively inexpensive pursuit.
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.
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
- FREE Competition entry for our International Squads when competing in ESKA (European) and WSKA (World) Championships.
- 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, Safeguarding, Human Resources, 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.
Information for club members
Information is regularly emailed to KUGB clubs as well as displayed on this website and our social media channels. This includes minutes of Executive and General Meetings, lists of events and various important notifications. Club members will have access to this information through the club secretary, club notice boards and bulletins and, of course, via this website.
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 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.
Our gradings are challenging but achievable, and passing them is meaningful and internationally recognized. When you grade with the KUGB you know your success is well deserved.
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 have nearly 50 years’ Karate experience or more.
Karate is an exciting and challenging sport
Competition starts at the regional level, and the KUGB has a well-established framework of annual competitions covering all ages, gender, and grades, for both Kata and Kumite, which are always well attended.
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 England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Squads.
There are separate championships for children and for students who are in full-time education at Colleges and Universities.
In 1968, the highest-graded British 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 that competed in a demonstration match against Japan at the Olympic Games in Mexico. He also 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.