Shotokan is one of the four main styles of karate (along with Gojo Ryu, Shito Ryu and Wado Ryu). It's founding father is Gichin Funakoshi who introduced karate to Japan from Okinawa in the 1920's, establishing it in the Japanese University system. Shotokan karate therefore has a very strong competitive ethos with its exponents often excelling in the sports side of karate, both kata and kumite. The instructors leading the Shotokan karate demonstration are no exception to this, both having competed at the highest level and winning many competitions.
Who is Sensei John James Bruce?
Sensei John James Bruce is currently 4th dan K.U.G.B black belt and also a member of the England Kata and Kumite squads. Sensei John James began training in 1990 at the age of 6 under the instruction of Sensei Ian Willis 5th Dan, Keith Burns 5th Dan and Jill Kelly 5th Dan.
Since 2000 Sensei John James has been a regular in the England team, which has competed all over the world. Starting with success at local competitions and then at regional and national championships, Sensei John James was a member of the England Junior Kumite Team, which won European Gold in 2001.
More recently Sensei John James has been placed 3rd in the Junior Individual Kumite event in the Europeans held at Crowtree, Sunderland in 2003 also in 2003 Sensei John James was crowned World Junior Kumite Champion in Zurich, Switzerland.
More international success came with the England Senior Male Team Kumite, winning the European title in 2007 (Porto, Portugal), 2008 (Crawley, England) and 2009 (Wels, Austria) as well as the World title in 2007 (Bydgoszcz, Poland) and 2009 (Cancun, Mexico). An individual Kumite Bronze medal came at the European Championships in 2009 (Wels, Austria).
Adding to his achievements internationally he has continued with success domestically winning various senior titles including 2009 Grand Champion (winning individual Kata and an Kumite)at the Shotokan Cup and 2010 KUGB Nationals Grand Champion (winning individual Kata and Kumite).
Sensei John James qualified as a K.U.G.B instructor when he was 18 and has continued to teach regular classes. At the beginning of 2004 Sensei John James decided to commit himself to K.U.G.B Shotokan Karate even more by becoming the youngest full time instructor in the K.U.G.B.
Who is Holly Stirling?
Holly began training in the southern region of England at the age of ten years old. She gained her 1st Dan Black Belt in 1999, at the age of twelve. She progressed to 2nd Dan in 2001 and her 3rd Dan in 2009.
At the age of thirteen Holly was selected to be part of the KUGB England junior kumite squad and in the same year, invited to be on the KUBG kata squad. In 2003 Holly was selected for her England debut competing at the European Shotokan Championships in Sunderland, and has since been a regular member of the England team.
At the European Championships in Wroclaw, Poland, 2005 Holly came 3rd in the Junior Ladies Individual Kumite event and was a member of the England Junior Ladies Kumite Team winning Gold. She continued her success the following year in Lucerne, Switzerland, by winning 2nd place in the Junior Ladies Individual Kumite 2006.
The year 2009 was a great year for Holly on the international stage. She came 3rd in the Senior Ladies Kata event at the World Championships (Cancun, Mexico) and at the European Championships (Wels, Austria) she was a member of the Senior Ladies Team Kumite coming 2nd.
The 2010 European Championships (Koblenz, Germany) saw the Senior Ladies team continuing with their success coming 3rd. Adding to her achievements internationally Holly has continued with success domestically winning various titles including 2009 and 2010 Grand Champion (winning individual Kata and Kumite) at the Northern Region Championships and has won the National Ladies Kata title since 2008.
Holly continues to compete at the highest level and has also recently started up a new class at Wheatley Hill, County Durham, where she is passing on her vast knowledge and expertise to some potential future champions.
Coming to Marfest...
You can see John and Holly at the Marfest where they will be demonstrating their style of karate and also giving taster sessions for the general public on our taster mats...don't miss your chance to train with world class champions.
You can find out more about Sensei John James Bruce and Holly Stirling by visiting the club's website here