Garry Harford, full time instructor and KUGB grading examiner, was born in Salford in 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 and gained his 7th Dan grading under Sensei Sherry on the 19th May 2007.
Garry trained every day prior to retirement and 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 travelled to Liverpool to train under Sensei Sherry and Poynton and maintains this practice by training twice a week with Andy Sherry, Frank Brennan and other senior grades.
His introduction to Karate competition was in the last BKCC All Styles Championships back in 1977. Garry was 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 include 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, he would maximize his kicking ability by making use of Mawashi-geri Chudan and spinning Ushiro-Mawashi-geri.
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. More recently, Garry has established his own club, the Shotokan Karate Academy, located in Hulme close to Manchester City Centre and enjoys success through teaching and training students at his clubs.
Garry is also the resident Karate Instructor for Manchester University and has been since he was just 16 years old. The University have 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 of which only one other has achieved this 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, Grading Examiner and Referee. He often travels to other KUGB clubs and is part of the KUGB 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 39 years. I train and teach almost every day and hope to continue to do so until the day I die. I experience the same desire today to achieve my best as much as I did in my younger years. I truly enjoy training and being challenged by Andy Sherry and Frank Brennan as much as in the early days. I feel I still have a lot to offer students who aspire to gain the expertise and experience that I have gained over the years. Long may it last!"