instructor profile - neil jerome, 4th dan

neil jeromeneil was born in 1979 in yorkshire, and has lived many places since. he is a chemist by trade, achieving two masters and one doctoral degree from the victoria university of manchester. at 19, during the university holidays, he joined the local (CFTS) karate club under sensei calver and quickly trained to his first coloured belt. returning to manchester for university, he joined the (KUGB) university club and began training under sensei harford. he achieved shodan in march 02 under sensei enoeda, nidan in June 04 under sensei sherry, sandan in october 2007 under sensei sherry, and yondan in october 2011 under sensei sherry. he has been training in shotokan karate ever since, in may 07 qualifying as a KUGB instructor and in oct 09 and 10 as a KUGB competition judge and referee, respectively. neil fought as part of the manchester university team for several years, winning several individual and team medals. while he has run several school programmes and has been an assistant instructor at many different clubs both around the country and in america, and including the club he took his first lesson at, kenmei is his first independent dojo. not content to settle into teaching, he has continued to push himself in his training, most recently achieving a place on the 2012 KUGB england kata squad.

my instructors

picture of garry harfordsensei garry harford, of the KUGB, teaches at the manchester university club and salford academy. he is currently 7th dan and a member of the KUGB technical committee. i had the great fortune to train with garry, and the many skilled karateka in his clubs, for seven years while at university, and whenever i have had the chance since leaving manchester. under his instruction, i passed first and second dan. he is technically excellent, and an accomplished instructor. sensei harford is the reason all my japanese has a salford accent.

picture of peter calversensei pete calver runs CESKA, and was the instructor at the club i first started at. it is through his indulgence that i found karate to be both interesting and fun, and i hope to be able to emulate this success in my own endeavours. pete's clubs, in and around the northamptonshire area, share his good humour and approachable attitude. from being an absolute beginner, it has been a pleasure to return to his clubs as a senior grade, an instructor, and as a friend, and i am glad to be able to feed back into the system that got me started in shotokan.

picture of mark o'connellsensei mark o'connell teaches alongside sensei calver under the CESKA umbrella, having previously trained in other karate styles. mark brings a discipline as well as a genuine enjoyment to his lessons, and loves training so he can (in his own words) "keep up with the young'uns". he has a wide knowledge that ranges across styles, and embraces complimentary arts and the way they fit with shotokan. i am very grateful to mark for inviting me to help him as an assistant instructor, and for encouraging me to develop interests in other martial arts.

picture of joe schoenigsensei joe schoenig teaches at dartmouth college, also running iaido classes there. phlegmatic and knowledgeable, he doesn't charge for his classes, seeing them instead as a way of giving back to the art and giving people a chance to try something that many, like himself, have gained much from. i was fortunate to learn much about japanese culture from attending his classes, as well as finally finding my 'kumite feet' with his help. i am also very grateful to have trained with sensei aaron hoopes at joe's club, and to have indirectly formed a passing acquaintance with sensei richard amos and sensei ken bladyka.

picture of denchi kai instructorsthe four instructors at denchi kai academy, sensei laura smith (awaiting picture), (l-r) sensei karl smith, sensei noreen small, and sensei steve smith, share duties at the clubs in chester-le-street and birtley. a very friendly and social club, i picked up different things from them all and was proud to compete on the team. i am grateful to noreeen for her patience and good humour, and for inspiring me to work for fourth dan.