Barry Wilkinson

Starting Karate is like embarking on a journey with no destination, only port of call along the way.

Barry Wilkinson

Training for over 50 years, Barry Wilkinson has been both a competitor and instructor. He has trained with many of Wado-Ryu’s top instructors, including Toru Arakawa, Tatsuo Suzuki, Katsumi Kobayashi, and Tadayuki Maeda.

Barry Robert Wilkinson was born on 11 August 1949, in Farnham, England. He had a younger brother.

Growing up Wilkinson attended Badshot Lea School. On leaving school he enrolled at Farnborough College of Technology.

Wilkinson’s first exposure to martial arts came when he began training in Aikido. He trained at the Aldershot Army Base, under Sergeant Eddie Stratton. He trained three nights a week, for three hours each session. However, Wilkinson’s training came to an end when Stratton left the army and moved to North Devon.

After searching for a new martial arts club, Wilkinson began training in Wado-Ryu Karate in February 1968. He trained at the Farnborough club under Brian Davis, who was a brown belt.

Wilkinson found that Wado-Ryu suited him and also gave him confidence. He later had the opportunity to train under the likes of Tatsuo Suzuki and Tadayuki Maeda.

By 1973 Wilkinson has been training for several years. That year he established the Farnham Karate Club.

In June 1976 Wilkinson organised a course in Farnham as the Southern Area Representative for the UKKW (United Kingdom Karate-Do Wado-Kai). The course was part of Wado-Ryu founder, Hironori Ohtsuka’s UK tour. Ohtsuka gave a demo, assisted by Peter Suzuki.

In 1977 Wilkinson was promoted to 3rd Dan. He was one of the first British 3rd Dans under the UKKW. The following year he established the Aldershot Karate Club.

Wilkinson was promoted to 4th Dan in 1981 by the EKA (English Karate Association).

The Aldershot Club was a founding member of the SKW (Southern Karate-Do Wado-Kai) and Wilkinson was appointed Chairman in 1982. He held the position for 34 years, until 2016.

In October 1987 Wilkinson was promoted to 5th Dan. This was under the BKW, which was the national body of the Wado-Kai in the UK.

Nearly 10 years later Wilkinson was promoted to 6th Dan. In September 1997 he was promoted by the EKGB (English Karate Governing Body). By 1998 Wilkinson had established several successful Karate clubs. That year he established the Crowthorne Wado Karate Club.

Wilkinson travelled to Japan in 1999 for the Wado World Cup. He attended the event with Brian Hayes. They were both referees and judges at the tournament. While in Japan he had the opportunity to train with Toru Arakawa.

In 2000 Wilkinson helped establish the EWKR (England Wado-Kai Karate-Do Renee). The EWKR was formed by the expansion of the existing SKW to include clubs from the North of England. The EWKR was eventually expanded to include clubs from the Midlands.

Wilkinson was promoted to 7th Dan in June 2002. He received his promotion from the EKGB (England Karate Governing Body) Technical Committee. He was presented with his certificate at a Summer Course held at the Arun Leisure Centre in Bognor Regis, England.

Between 4-5 May 2013, the 2nd Transcaucasian Championships and seminar was held in Yerevan, Armenia. Wilkinson helped conduct a seminar on the first day. The championships were held on the second day.

Wilkinson was promoted to 8th Dan in November 2013, by the Federation of Wado-Kai Europe. He received his promotion at the 41st European Wado–Kai Championships, held in Hungary.

On 26 May 2018, the Wadokai Masters Seminar was held in Aldershot. The seminar marked 50 years of Wilkinson’s training in Wado-Ryu Karate. The instructors on the course were Colin Clapperton, George Grimes, Ohgami, and Wilkinson. Each 8th Dan instructor taught for one hour. The court was followed by a summer barbecue, hog roast, and drinks.

Wilkinson was awarded the Service to Farnham Award, at a special ceremony in February 2019. The award is presented to people who have provided outstanding service to the people of Farnham.

On 21 June 2021, following the UK-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EWKR clubs were allowed to reopen.

Wilkinson travelled to Japan in 2023. He had the opportunity to train at the Dojo of Shimamoto Sensei in Shizuoka.

Currently, Barry Wilkinson operates nine Karate clubs in the South of England. Apart from teaching at his clubs, he is a frequent instructor on courses and seminars in England and Europe.

Wilkinson is the Chief Instructor of the EWKR. He is also the Vice President of the FWE (Federation of Wado-Kai).

Living in Aldershot, Wilkinson is married to wife Mandy. They have three children and several grandchildren.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.