Junior Lefevre

You judge the value of a man on what he left after him.

Junior Lefevre

A ferocious competitor, Junior Lefevre is a former World and European Kumite Champion. He is a 28-time Belgian National Champion and a four -time Croatian National Champion. He is also made the successful transition from being a competitor to a world-class coach.

Junior Lefevre was born on 17 October 1978, in the Etterbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, Belgium. His father Frdy would be very instrumental in his martial arts journey.

Lefevre began practising martial arts in 1986. He trained at the Yanou Martial Arts Club, aged 8. Living in a tough part of Brussels, he wanted to learn to protect himself.

At school Lefevre was constantly bullied. The headmaster of his school took the unprecedented action of asking his father to enroll him in a martial art school, so that he could learn to defend himself.

At the Yanou Martial Arts Club, Lefevre was exposed to various martial arts, including Judo, Aikido, Kendo, and Kickboxing, and Karate. His instructor was Selly Simanovski. After two months Lefevre’s father asked them to choose a style. He chose Karate and Kendo.

Lefevre’s father was very instrumental in his Karate training and development. They had met Michel Aerden, the President of the AFK (Fracophone Association of Karate) and the BKF (Belgium Karate Federation). Lefevre’s father had asked if Aerden could give him kata lessons. Aerden agreed and Lefevre trained with him 2 to 3 times a week.

In February 1987 Lefevre join the CAMJ (Martial Arts Centre of Jette) in Brussels where he practiced Shotokan Karate. The club eventually became affiliated to the AFK.

Lefevre’s took part in his first tournament in May 1987. It was the AFK Kata Championships held in Andrimont, Belgium. He finished in second place.

In February 1989, Lefevre became Belgian Champion for the first time at a junior level.

To put to improve his Karate, Lefevre frequently attended courses. In August 1989 he attended a course conducted by Taiji Kase and Hiroshi Shirai in Royan, France. During the course Lefevre’s father met Dirk Heene. He was impressed by Heene’s traditional Karate knowledge, and asked if he would give his son, Junior, some private lessons.

In September 1981, Lefevre became affiliated to the VKA (Vlaamse Karate Association).

Aged 12, Lefevre was promoted to 1st Dan by Taiji Kase in 1990.

Always looking to guide his son’s training, Lefevre’s father decided that he should focus more on the competitive aspects of Karate. In 1992 he began visiting Paris once a week to train with Patrick Suard, who was the French National Kata Coach. That year he won the French Kata Cup, held in Paris.

After two years of kata training with Patrick Suard, Lefevre’s father suggested he change the focus of his training to kumite. Lefevre began taking lessons with Marc Van Reybroeck, who had competed for Belgium at the 1984 and 1986 World Karate Championships. He had won bronze on both occasions.

In 1995 Lefevre competed at the European Karate Championships for Cadets, held in Bratislava, Slovakia. He won both the Individual Kata and Individual Kumite events. The following year he repeated the feat at the Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey.

At the Karate Championships for Cadets, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1996, Lefevre became the World Champion in the -70 kg Kumite event.

Between 7-11 November 1996, Lefevre represented Belgium at the 13th World Karate Championships, held in Sun City, South Africa. He won a bronze medal in the -70 kg Individual Kumite event. He was aged 18.

In 1997 Lefevre made the transition to competing fully as an adult.

Between 2-4 May 1997, Lefevre represented Belgium at the 32nd European Karate Championships held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. He won a bronze medal in the -70 kg Kumite event. He also finished in fourth place in the Individual Kata event. He decided to focus on kumite.

In June 1997 Lefevre’s father arranged for him to train with Jose Manuel Egea, a multiple European and World Kumite Champion.

Lefevre would travel to Madrid once a month to train with Egea for a week. He credits Egea for developing and honing his fighting skills. After a year of training with him, he saw big improvement in his kumite.

Between 8 – 10 May 1998 Lefevre represented Belgium at the 33rd European Karate Championships, held in Belgrade, Serbia. In the -70 kg event he won gold

In 1998 Lefevre decided to enroll at university to study accountancy. However, his father suggested that he become a Karate professional. That year he competed at the Super Eight Competition, held in Zagreb, Croatia. He defeated Wayne Otto of England in the final.

Between 15-18 October, Lefevre was selected to represent Belgium at the 14th World Karate Championships held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Similar to his previous World Championships he won a bronze medal.

Lefevre had faced several problems with the BKF (Belgium Karate Federation). In 1999, he made the decision to change federations, and represent Croatia.

Lefevre was appointed the National Youth Coach for Croatia. In February 1999 he led the team to success at the Junior European Championships. This was his first title success representing Croatia.

Between 21-23 May 1999 Lefevre represented Croatia at the 34th European Karate Championships held in Chalkida, Greece. He won the -70 kg Individual Kumite title.

In 2000, Lefevre’s sole focus was to win that year’s World Championships. To prepare and get sharper, he competed in every tournament he could find.

Between 2-4 May 2000, Lefevre represented Croatia at the 35th European Karate Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey. He won a bronze medal in the -70 kg Kumite event. This spurred him on to have bigger success at the upcoming World Championships.

Between 12-15 October 2000, Lefevre represented Croatia at the 15th World Karate Championships held in Munich, Germany. In the -70 kg Individual Kumite event, he achieved his goal of becoming World Champion. This was a culmination of all of his and his father’s hard work.

In 2000 Lefevre established the Champions Karate Club in Liége, Belgium.

Between 11-13 May 2001, the 36th European Karate Championships were held in Sofia, Belgium. Representing Croatia, Lefevre won a bronze medal in the -70 kg Individual Kumite event.

The following year Lefevre represented Croatia at 16th World Karate Championships held in Madrid, Spain. He won a silver medal in the -70 kg Individual Kumite event.

In 2002 Lefevre was appointed the coach of Australian National Team. He held the position until 2005. His role included visiting dojos around the country and helping to improve their technical abilities.

Between 9-11 May 2003, Lefevre competed for Croatia at the 38th European Karate Championships, held in Bremen, Germany. He won a bronze medal in the -70 kg Individual Kumite event. He also won a bronze medal in the Open Kumite event. This was his last international tournament. He retired from actively competing at the age of only 25. He wanted to concentrate on teaching and his own personal training.

Lefevre’s successes include:

  • World Karate Championships – Individual Kumite -70 kg – 1st place (2000)
  • World Karate Championships – Individual Kumite -70 kg – 2nd place (2002)
  • World Karate Championships – Individual Kumite -70 kg – 3rd place (1996, 1998)
  • European Karate championships – Individual Kumite -70 kg – 1st place (1998, 1999)
  • European Karate Championships – Individual Kumite Open – 1st place (1999)
  • European Karate Championships – Individual Kumite -70 kg – 3rd place (1997, 2000, 2001, 2003)
  • European Karate Championships – Individual Kumite Open – 3rd place (1997, 2003)

In 2003 Lefevre became the President of the CIKA (Champions International Karate Association).

For the next few years Lefevre placed much of his focus on coaching and teaching. In 2010 he was appointed the National Kata and Kumite Coach for the Luxembourg Karate Team. He held the position until 2014.

Lefevre’s other coaching positions include:

  • 2015 – Technical advisor for the Venezuelan Karate team
  • 2019 – Coach for the Mexican Karate Team at the Pan-American Games
  • 2019 – National Head Coach of the EKF (English Karate Federation). He held this position until August 2023.

Junior Lefevre was a top competitor. He made the successful transition to being a world-class coach. He has trained many top competitors, including the likes of Rafael Aghayev and Mikael Tamas.

With a strong foundation in traditional Shotokan Karate, Lefevre is currently a 6th Dan. He is frequently invited to give seminars and courses around the world.

Lefevre currently lives in Liége, Belgium with his wife and daughter. He also teaches at his dojo, the Champions Karate Club. Many of his young students are beginning to find international success under his coaching.

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