Neil started Karate with DKK in 1994 on a whim. A friend from work wanted to learn to defend himself (in 6 months!) and was looking for a club, that night Neil got home from work and there was a ¼ page advert in the Dunmow Broadcast for DKK (Senpai Sean battering a punch bag held by Shihan Andrew, or Sensei Andrew as he was back then).
Neil turned up and trained and has never looked back. He was lucky enough to train with so many of the "greats" of DKK, Senpai Sean Dillon, Senpai Miguel Fernandez, Senpai Lia Howlett and Senpai Greg Hitchins.
After 10 years, an "English" Kata Championship and numerous Demo stunts Neil was successful in achieving his Shodan, while also training in Ju-jitsu, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and Judo, all with Shihan Andrew's blessing and encouragement.
Neil left DKK when he moved to deepest Devon, he trained in Aikido for 8 years, while still practicing Kyokushin on his own, before the Karate bug finally took hold again. Neil now trains in Wado-Ryu Karate and recently gained his 2nd Kyu. He Boxes a bit too.
Favourite Technique Jodan Hizo Uchi
Favourite Kata: Tensho (plus Nihanchi and Kushanku)
Biggest influence in your Karate career: Shihan Andrew of course, for teaching me, for encouraging me to train in other styles and arts, and for still being one of my best friends. Hanshi Steve Arniel (as soon as I mentioned I passed my Shodan under him I was welcomed to my present Dojo even though it is a different style). Senpai Sean Dillon & Senpai Miguel Fernadez (my "evasive" fighting style is a direct result of running away from them for 10 years!). Everyone I've ever taught or trained with has taught me something.
Best Achievement: Still training hard at 40. Defending my "English" Kata Championship. Scaring off an entire crop of beginners by having a toe-to-toe scrap with Pete Fash on the 1st day of a beginners course (Sorry!)
Favourite Film: Zatoichi. Karate Kid (the original, not the Jackie Chan rubbish, seriously, the whole film is an essay on Tensho Kata.)
Favourite Music: Not Pop.
Favourite Food: Dried Apricots
Favourite Sport and teams: Boxing. I like it when Spurs win because my life is easier!
Likes: Training, running in the lovely Devon countryside, Bonsai, Hats.
Dislikes: Don't get me started!
What would you like to see in the future:
Karate: Less politics, more co-operation. "Proper" Karate people in MMA, I'm getting fed up with seeing lazy Gedan Mawashi Geri all the time.
Personally: Time travel! Why not?