John passed his 6th Dan grading in 2021, notched up 40 years of continuous training in 2019, 25 years of these as the Senior Instructor of his childhood club ‘Exeter Shotokan Karate’
He is proud of all of these achievements and could never have believed at the start of his karate journey that these goals would be reached.
He started karate in 1976, aged ten. The Exeter club was running a junior beginner’s class but after twelve weeks he gave up. Luckily his father decided to join the adult class which was instructed by Sensei Dave Collacott. When he took over the running of the junior classes in 1978, John had another go and never looked back.
John passed his 1st dan grading under Sensei Enoeda, aged fifteen. The club was heavily into kumite and entering competitions was the next big step. The Exeter club had some great black belt’s that would push you to your limits and all under the instruction of Sensei Dave Collacott, who demanded 100% at all times.
At sixteen he was fighting in the Exeter adult kumite (five man) ‘A’ team at the South West championships. At eighteen, he was invited to join the England junior kumite squad sessions at the Red Triangle club in Liverpool, training alongside the likes of Sensei’s Brennan, Christopher, Williams, Harford, Hall and Best. It was brutal, both physically and mentally. These sessions moulded his karate to this current day.
During the 1980’s, he was part of the Southern Region squad and team captain of the Exeter kumite team for over ten years. Individually he achieved many placings in the Southern region for both kata and kumite and a placing for junior kumite at the nationals in 1982.
His competitive career lasted for 20 years.
Sensei Dave Collacott retired from Karate in 1999. As the most senior grade, John was asked to take over the running of the club and has been the Senior Instructor ever since.
Special mention must be given to his late father, Terry Penman who was a massive stalwart of the Exeter club and the KUGB and Sensei Dave Collacott who was his Sensei for over twenty years, a massive influence on Karate in the South West and beyond.
Looking ahead, he is proud that the Exeter club is strong and vibrant and has many fantastic personalities. Both the junior and adult classes maintain a good standard and it is his vocation alongside his fellow instructors to make sure this continues. John believes we have many exciting times ahead!
Club: Exeter Senior Instructor / Chairman: 1999 to present
1st Dan: 12.06.82 Sensei Enoeda
2nd Dan: 15.06.85 Sensei Enoeda
3rd Dan: 17.04.99 Sensei Enoeda
4th Dan: 05.05.03 Sensei Osaka / Sensei Sherry
5th Dan: 06.10.12 Sensei Sherry
6th Dan: 02.10.21 Sensei F Brennan
Qualifications: KUGB Judge: 2001 / KUGB Referee: 2003