Sensei Ian Stopforth - 6th Dan

I started training in 1985, just before my eleventh birthday. My motivation for starting karate was due to a fascination with all things eastern with regards to martial arts. I was desperate to know the ”secrets” and once I started karate, I was hooked.

By pure luck, I was taken to the Red Triangle dojo, my mum and dad mildly aware of the club’s rich legacy due to a tip off from a family friend.  I worked hard and passed my Shodan in 1987 under Sensei Enoeda.

Shortly after gaining my black belt, I was invited to train in the morning sessions with my instructors. This was a huge honour for me and it helped boost to my confidence whilst inspiring me to train with greater intensity. Here, I was able to observe some the greatest karateka of our golden era. Sensei Sherry delivered and trained in the classes consisting of Sensei Poynton, Sensei Frank Brennan, Sensei Jimmy Brennan and Sensei Harford to name but a few. The classes were always extremely tough and I remember being in total awe of all my seniors.  After each session, I would gain a real sense of achievement just by getting through the class. Ever since then, I’ve always been searching for similar “highs” and this drive still forms the basis of my training.

My hard work paid off and I was very fortunate to be selected for the national squad in 1990 and this provided a springboard for me to represent my country. This was a huge privilege and a dream come true. During my time competing, I was able represent England at European and World Championship level. I have also been lucky enough to have won Regional and British championships during my time as a competitor.

In my 32 years of training, my motivation hasn’t changed. I have taught karate, once running my own club for 8 years. I have also taught at Liverpool University and I have assisted sessions at the Red Triangle dojo. In spite of my love for teaching, I always view myself as a student. Any personal highlights or achievements are brought into perspective when I consider the years spent training at such a unique dojo.