When did you first begin training in Kyokushin?
I first started training at Leicester Kyokushin in July 1973.
Who was your first instructor?
My first instructor was Peter Kisby.
Did you ever train in any other style of Martial Arts?
I have trained in judo, aikido, Tang So Do, Hapkido, Tai chi, Kyu Do, along with kick boxing and jujitsu.
Did you ever train under Sosai? If so, when was this and what was this experience like?
I never got to train under Sosai, but I have trained under some of his best and closest students
Where and when did you achieve Shodan?
I took my shodan under Hanshi Steve Arneil at Crystal Palace in 1978, my Nidan and Sandan under Hanshi Arneil but my Yondan, Godan and Ryoku Dan under Kancho.
To this date, what do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
To date my greatest achievement is not a single thing, but I have lots of great achievements and they are my students. They make me feel great when I inspire them to train and teach good Kyokushin, and that includes anyone I have ever taught.
Who was the most influential person you have trained under?
The most influential person for me was one of my Senpai' Senpai Stuart Crewe, he set in me how to train and have an attitude to my training. Although he does not still train, I think of him when it gets challenging. He made me think, not just sweat.
When you were a kyu grade, who inspired you the most to keep training, and why?
When I was a kyu grade apart from Senpai Stuart, I had Shihan Fitkin and Shihan Collins. One was a fighter who worked it all out and one who fought instinctively, a great combination. I had Hanshi Arneil the first 100 man fighter, so determination was in front of me a lot if the time.
What was your hardest grading and what did it entail?
My 10th kyu was a great shock. My shodan was very hard, I thought I was going to pass out. My Yondan in Japan was my first under Kancho so I was determined to do the very best at everything I did. But it was my Godan that made me ask more than any other why I was actually grading... Was it just to get another bar or what? I came to the conclusion that it was not for me but for our organisation. The lower grades could see progression at the top and so they knew they could attain it too if they gave enough, and this was exactly what Kancho said after the grading so I felt ok with my reasoning .
In your opinion, has Kyokushin changed a lot over the years?
I think that Kyokushin has changed. It’s certainly not as brutal as it was, in its training or its expectations. The fear of very hard training has put some of the newer instructors off for fear of losing students, but the ones that remain are strong in spirit and hearts and bodies, and exemplify the first line of the Dojo Kun. There are a lot more senior grades now than there was when I first started and all I had was a shodan and first kyus for instructors, now there is a senior grade always available, so students get a little blasé about it. However, people have also changed over the last 40 years too, they want instant results and do regular 1000's of punches or kicks and that’s virtually a charity event now, we used to do it at least once a week, its only 20 minutes. But times and people change. Who goes and does it now, on their own, to see what they learn about themselves? Very few I think.
Inevitably, Organisations have split and shrunk over the years and we know IKO is the same, but what makes IKO stand out from the others?
I feel that why the IKO stands out is quite simple to me. It is the root of the Kyokushin tree, the others are branches, in most cases strong branches, but if I have the root then I have the whole tree.