• Dave Martin

    I was born and grew up in the urban jungle of south-east London. I first became interested in the culture of the far east during the hippie days of the 1960s. This became an interest in the martial arts after I worked with a Chinese man and met some of his friends in Hammersmith. It was not until 1976 that I started formal instruction in Wadoryu karate with Tatsuo Suzukis UKKW association.

    In 1978 I moved to Holland for 4 years and trained with a variety of martial arts groups. When I returned to the UK, the karate scene had completely changed with many new groups springing out from the old associations. I ended up joining a sport karate group and competed with some success in the midlands semi-contact karate scene.

    I became dissatisfied with the lack of real karate and the fact that the driving force always seemed to be money. So I left.

    The group I had belonged to immediately sued me for lost earnings - proving my point !!!

    They did not win the court case (I always stand up to bullies!) and I joined a traditional wado karate group. I ran clubs for several years in the midlands and was generally left to my own devices.

    The head of the group moved to the USA and I joined another wado group until I and my family decided to move to Ireland. Together with my wife Michele, we established a group practising traditional wado karate. For a long time I resisted joining any other group but we did get support from Andy Genery(BWKU) and Chris Thompson(BTKA).

    I had one of those moments in destiny when a chance meeting with Chris Thompson happened at a kata course given by Shingo Ohgami. Now about ten years later we are firmly a part of the BTKA and our horizons have been broadened yet again.

    There have been many high points and a few low points in my karate career, but as Frank Sinatra almost said, too few to mention and more importantly I did it my way.

  • Irvinestown Karate Club

    Dave Martin

    I was born and grew up in the urban jungle of south-east London. I first became interested in the culture of the far east during the hippie days of the 1960s. This became an interest in the martial arts after I worked with a Chinese man and met some of his friends in Hammersmith. It was not until 1976 that I started formal instruction in Wadoryu karate with Tatsuo Suzukis UKKW association.

    In 1978 I moved to Holland for 4 years and trained with a variety of martial arts groups. When I returned to the UK, the karate scene had completely changed with many new groups springing out from the old associations. I ended up joining a sport karate group and competed with some success in the midlands semi-contact karate scene.

    I became dissatisfied with the lack of real karate and the fact that the driving force always seemed to be money. So I left.

    The group I had belonged to immediately sued me for lost earnings - proving my point !!!

    They did not win the court case (I always stand up to bullies!) and I joined a traditional wado karate group. I ran clubs for several years in the midlands and was generally left to my own devices.

    The head of the group moved to the USA and I joined another wado group until I and my family decided to move to Ireland. Together with my wife Michele, we established a group practising traditional wado karate. For a long time I resisted joining any other group but we did get support from Andy Genery(BWKU) and Chris Thompson(BTKA).

    I had one of those moments in destiny when a chance meeting with Chris Thompson happened at a kata course given by Shingo Ohgami. Now about ten years later we are firmly a part of the BTKA and our horizons have been broadened yet again.

    There have been many high points and a few low points in my karate career, but as Frank Sinatra almost said, too few to mention and more importantly I did it my way.

  • Omagh Karate Club

    Brendan O'Neill

    I recall at the age of eleven being in possession of a paperback book that explored the martial art of karate.

     I remember neither the karate style, nor the author, and I do not know where, or how, I acquired this book.  For whatever reason I had it and it held my intrigue.  Was it a case of being bullied?  Perhaps, but then surely all eleven year olds endure some form of bullying.  Maybe, at a subconscious level, it was about survival?  After all, growing up on a working class estate in 1970’s Northern Ireland, was no picture postcard.  With little prospect of turning burgeoning imagination into reality, I eventually set this book and any hope of learning karate, to the one side.

    Fast forward seven years and I was off to University in Belfast.  The Troubles still raged, but cocooned  within University life were opportunities to explore new things.  A karate club based at the college campus was to offer me with the opportunity to finally try karate.  However, my participation was short lived, as the two instructors that ran the club had contrasting philosophies and approaches.  While one instructor had an obvious passion for karate and keen to pass that passion onto others in a genuine and respectful way, the other preferred to show off his prowess.  Disillusioned, I walked away from the club and any likelihood of learning karate.

    Almost twenty years later an incidental meeting with a lifelong friend rekindled my interest in karate.  He shared that he was attending karate classes being taught by an Englishman called Dave Martin, in the nearby town of Irvinestown.  He suggested that I come along to one of the classes and see what I thought.  At thirty seven I perhaps felt that I was now too old to start learning karate, but hesitantly I went along.  At the first session I really struggled.  However, obstinacy saw me return the following week and then the week after that.  Weeks turned into months and three years later I was preparing for my Shodan grading.

    The ambience at Sensei Martin’s club is completely different to what I had experienced at University years before.  There is a strong camaraderie and respect within the group.  While the standard of karate that is taught is of the highest calibre, classes are also laced with enjoyment. The opportunity to establish my own club in in my hometown of Omagh occurred by chance.  Sensei Martin had been trying to cajole me for a quite a while into forming a club, but I had quietly resisted.  Then, in conversation with my sister, she mentioned that a work colleague of hers was looking for someone to establish some form of martial arts class at the local Hospital Road Community Centre.  So, that is how the curious eleven year old from the 1970’s, became a karate instructor.