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Sensei Martyn Chapman

Sensei Martyn Chapman (3rd Dan)

I have been training in Shotokan for 26 years. The reason I began training was for self defence and I joined a club in West Moors in Dorset and then in my early 20s began training with Sensei Gerry Breeze of the Bournemouth Kanku Shotokan Karate Club. Sensei Breeze was a founder member of the KUGB and was present at its formation. I attained my Shodan, Nidan and Sandan under his tuition. In my time training with Sensei Breeze I competed all over Europe in France, Germany, Romania, Spain, Belgium, Holland and Italy. I have also competed in America from an invitation to the club in Bournemouth from Sensei Richard Amos. Also I have travelled to Okinawa to study the heritage of Shotokan and trained at the J.K.A. in Tokyo. In my time competing I and my team mates were guided by our squad coach Sensei Mark Carroll. Mark took us to the World Shotokan karate Championships in 1997 where I received a gold medal as a member of the 5 man team Kumite. He became a close friend and I have followed his training style for many years. In my years of training I have attended many courses with the likes of Senseis Enoeda, Otha, Abe, Funakoshi, Sensei Nagamine of Okinawa, Senseis Dave Hooper , Elwyn Hall, Richard Hessleton and Richard Amos to name but a few.

I moved to Cheltenham 15 years ago I started teaching and training at a local club. After a year the club instructor moved out the area. I began a new community Shotokan Karate club run by the parents and I taught there for 3 years. In this time I introduced bag and pad work to my training and pressure testing. I began training in Ju Jutsu Kai under Sensei Ross Innacarro and attained a level of 4th kyu. A friend introduced me to Geoff Tompson. I attended many of Geoffs courses and enjoyed the realism that he uses in his training. Also I have attended 3 of Iain Abernathy bunkai courses. I had to close my club for personal reasons as I found out that I had Cancer. The good news is that the cancer has been treated and now all looks good for the future. Through all this I never stopped training and my views and philosophy on life changed dramatically. Over the past few years I have been studying the application of Shotokan Karate for self defence with Kata at the core. Over this time I have been travelling to Melksham on Mondays, a round trip of 90 miles, to train with Mark Carroll, 6th Dan who I have known for18 years. I continue to train in Shotokan Karate for the perfection of the style and in my personal opinion its primary purpose.......self defence

Through my years of teaching others and passing on my knowledge, many students and my piers have complemented my karate. This is all down to the way I was taught and my original Sensei, Sensei Gerry Breeze. Basics are the key, lots of it and the repetition of the same. Without these foundations your karate will come crashing down and in the process taking you with it. Sensei Breezes classes always started the same with twenty minutes of punching in choku-zuki yoi and zenkutsu-dashi. Years of this training will give a student excellent foundation to build good karate on. All the techniques Sensei Breeze taught were based on repetition and spirit. He was and still is a great sensei and one of the last founder instructors England has produced and he is still respected and teaches around the world at the age of 68.


My favourite saying is You are what you train. This is so simple and yet so profound. For many years I trained under my instructor, trying to perfect the art of kicking, punching, set patterns (Kata), and Kumite (free style fighting). Many students go through their whole lives training for competition fighting and the perfection of the style that they have chosen. Then when the time comes for them to use their martial art in a street situation they usually find out they have just got the same skills as the non trained martial artist!

It may give them a slight advantage but for the Dojo (hall) trained student who has trained against other students and in competitions, finds themselves in unknown territory. The real world hasnt got rules and a referee, its got head butts, broken bottles, being dragged to the ground, hard tarmac, hidden attackers and so the list goes on! I found this out for myself when I first got my black belt in Karate. A friend of mine offered me a job as a bouncer, working in a few night clubs in Bournemouth. I soon realized that the traditional karate I loved did not work in the real world, well not in the way I had been taught.

What I mean by this is that the distances were all wrong, I was face to face with people and not the competition distance I was used to. People were swearing, shouting, and being aggressive, and I had to be calm and professional. As a door man you are not allowed to punch or kick, so you have to use conversation, reason and if physical contact was needed, control and restraint methods were used. So I looked at my training and decided I needed to learn control and restraint and body guard techniques. I was so disillusioned with karate that I was thinking of dropping it. That was until I met my current instructor, Sensei Mark Carroll 6th Dan.

Mark had become the squad coach of the association I belonged to. One day he asked me if I would like to come to one of his practical application coarses. Thank God I did is all I can say! He showed how traditional Shotokan Karate can be used up close and personal, using wrist and arm locks, control and restraint, chokes and strangles, take down and throwing techniques. He explained that the style of karate I had chosen was originally used for body guard techniques and self defence, and that competition is just a by product of modern training. Mark has pioneered a new way of training using the traditional patterns called Street Kata. I have been training in this method for 10 years now and incorporate it in my classes.

I have trained and gained grades in Ju Jutsu as many of the moves in Shotokan Karate have Jutsu applications. I also have trained with Geoff Thomson and read many of his books. The reason for this is so I can bring a sense of realism to my training with pressure testing and role play, that is acting out situations you may find yourself in on the street. You have to train this way to be prepared, that is to understand a situation and deal with all the elements of conflict from verbal exchange, body language, and your surroundings. In short, Be prepared. So the phrase You are what you train, means if you want to defend yourself in the real world then you better train for it!