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Senpai Lia Howlett - Profile


Senpai LiaSenpai Lia has started training in 1991 in Sibiu, Romania, under Shihan Gheorghe Bradu, then a green belt. The emphasis at the club was on budo. Main focus was on basics, kata study and dojo sparring / self defence.

In the summer of 2000 Senpai Lia relocated to Cambridge UK and in the autumn of the same year she joined the Dunmow Kyokushinkai Karate Club as a 1st Kyu IKO.  At Dunmow and in the BKK Senpai Lia has found a group of people dedicated to their art, who liked training hard and learning more about their karate. Senpai Lia has gone on to grade for her 1st Kyu under BKK and in 2003 for black belt (Shodan).

Senpai Lia is enjoying training and learning more than anything else and hard training most often brings rewards. In 2002, she was selected to represent Great Britain in the 2nd IFK Knock-Down World Tournament and after that, she has represented Great Britain and England at many international knock-down tournaments over her 12 years fighting career. She has also competed for the club on many occasions in knock-down, kata, WUKO, clicker and advanced clicker competitions.

Senpai Lia believes that each karateka is responsible for their training and that they should experience more than one martial art and train under more than one instructor. She has regularly trained, but never graded in a number of different martial arts: Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Hapkido, Taekwondo (non Olympic style), Kobudo, Arnis, Ninjutsu, Karate Jutsu and has done over 8 years of self defence training for women. In Kyokushin, besides the Dunmow Kyokusinkai Karate Club she has regularly trained with the Docklands Karate Club and attended the knock down sessions at Crawley Kyokushinkai Karate Club. She also visited many other clubs, too many to mention, but to which she is grateful for their warm welcome and hard training.

Senpai Lia is currently enjoying returning to the budo roots her training and teaching occasionally when required.



Favourite Technique: Doesn't really have one

Favourite Kata: very much dependant on mood

Instructor who influence you: There is a large number of martial artists who have influenced my karate. To play the name dropping game and mention the ones with most impact, I will say Shihan Gheorghe Bradu, Shihan Andrew Turner, Shihan Nick and Maria da Costa, Shihan David Pickthall, Shihan Graham Walden, Shihan Felix Ntumazah, Hanshi Steve Arneil, Shihan Liam Keaveney, Shidoshi Ilie Botos, Sensei Simon Oliver, Sensei Dave Hazard and more recently Sensei Hajime Kazumi.

Favourite BKK Fighters: This is a slightly biased answer as it is very difficult for me to think about the Ladies Heavyweight fighters. I have been fortunate to fight many good competitors but when watching them I always focused on learning their style and finding weaknesses as they were my direct competition. I never really relaxed and just watched them, the way I did with fighters from other categories. So with that in mind, the fighters I most enjoyed watching over the years are Senpai Miguel Fernandez, Senpai Tom Silver, Senpai Emma Markwell, Sensei Darren Stringer and Senpai Darren Chan.

Favourite Foreign Fighters: I am afraid I haven't really got any. 

Biggest influence in your Karate career:

  • Shihan Gheorghe Bradu - as my first instructor who introduced me to Kyokushin Karate,
  • Shihan Andrew Turner - as my current instructor who has continued my training and taught me a lot about karate (which said this way, doesn't do it justice really - Shihan Andrew has taught me most of the things I know today in kihon, kata and especially all forms of fighting),
  • Shihan Nick and Maria da Costa and Shihan David Pickthall - who have moulded my knock down fighting and much more,
  • Sensei Simon Oliver who has given me a whole new view on kata, kata applications and self defence

and, last but definitely not least,

  • Senpai Miguel Fernandes and Sensei Malcolm Howlett without whose help and support none of my karate from 2000 onwards would have happened. Their constant help, support and advice have been invaluable.


Best Achievement:

Not being knocked down or out in a knock-down tournament. Never being scored against in any of this type of competitions. The fights I lost were on judges'  decision or weight, never because of my defence and I am happy with that as it means my training was right and I can defend myself when needed.


Favourite Film: I don't watch a lot of movies. I guess amongst my favourites are Meet Joe Black, The Last Samurai but there are so many others.

Favourite Music: depends on mood

Favourite Food: I love most food, especially natural, clean and unadulterated tastes. But, let's just say that you can't go wrong with chocolate!

Favourite Drink: Earl Gray Tea, sparkling mineral water and full fat Coke

Favourite Sport and teams: Besides Karate I like playing with kettlebells and lifting weights, although I lift to improve/maintain my striking power only.  I love watching international rugby and Formula 1.

Likes: Getting buried in some geeky little project and researching minutia on how to improve one's technique or performance. Constantly learning new things and random facts. Digging beyond the obvious and constantly asking 'Why?'

Dislikes: many things. Mostly dishonesty and people who don't say what they think especially when they hide behind the courtesy excuse.

What would you like to see in the future: I would like to see my friends and family healthy and happy.