Jeff started Karate in 1965 with Sunderland Martial Arts Academy (BKF). The instructors were 2 judo Nidans, very capable but with no Karate qualifications. Sensei Kanazawa conducted the club’s first grading where Jeff graded to 8th Kyu. Jeff transferred to the KUGB in 1969, training with Sunderland Sendai Club run by Sensei John Holdsworth who was to be his instructor until 1976. Jeff competed in a variety of competitions, often involving other styles and disciplines (Tae-Kwondo, Kung-Fu etc), training with Senseis Eneoda, Sherry and Tomita, grading to Shodan in 1974 with Sensei Asano.
Jeff then trained under Japanese instructors Kase, Shirai, Kawasoe, Tabata and Osaka. Jeff always felt that he had been present at a great and exciting time when British Karate evolved from legendary practitioners Senseis Sherry, O’Neill, Poynton, Higgins and Rhodes and whose mantle was taken on by Senseis Jim and Frank Brennan, Christopher, Hall and Harford.
Jeff trained at Sunderland Sendai for most of his Karate career, his club was fortunate to host 2 European and 2 World Championships which the KUGB squad were massively successful in – notably the KUGB victory over Japan in the 1990 World Shotokan Cup.
Jeff became Sunderland Sendai’s club instructor in 1976 when John Holdsworth moved on. Under Jeff’s and his fellow senior instructors’ leadership and guidance, his students were particularly successful – especially Julie Nicholson (World Shotokan Kata Champion and KUGB Grand Champion), Owen Murray (European Team Champion); Sendai also became National KUGB team champions in 1990.
Jeff has now retired from running the Sunderland Sendai Club and now concentrates on his own training with support from Sensei Ernie Payne (5th Dan) and Paul Dowell (6th Dan). Jeff achieved his 6th Dan in 2019 with Senseis Sherry, Poynton and Brennan.
Jeff sends his best wishes to the KUGB and all the great Karateka of all grades that he has met over the years.