I see Karate not as a sport but as an art. Therefore kata and kumite are both needed to become an all-round practitioner of the art. That isn’t to say I have anything against people who view karate as a sport.Matt Price
As a competitor, Matt Price was known for his very strong kumite. He is a 9-time KUGB National Champion; a KUGB Grand Champion; a 16-time Grand Slam kumite champion; and voted European Competitor of the year twice. He has made the successful transition from being a competitor to being a world-renowned coach.
Matt Price was born on 15 July 1973 in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate, the parents Richard and Rosemary Price.
Price attended Rossett School. Growing up he really wanted to become a superhero.
In 1982 Price started training at the Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club aged 9. He started learning Karate at the insistence of his parents. At first, he wasn’t really interested in learning Karate, finding it to be hard work. However, his parents would not let him quit, wanting him to be more active.
By 1985 Price’s attitude to Karate had changed. He was a brown belt, and it was around this time that he started competing.
In 1985 Price competed in the UK Open Championships, held in Manchester. He had seen the tournament advertised in one of the martial arts magazines he frequently read. His parents who were always supportive, drove him from Harrogate to Manchester to compete. It was the third time he had entered a tournament. He won the under-16 advance title. On 4 December he was featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post for his achievement.
Price found he enjoyed competing and found the chance of winning trophies and medals appealing.
At the age of 13, Price started training with Bob Rhodes in 1986, at the Leeds Shotokan Karate club. Rhodes ran a tough dojo, with many strong karatekas, such as Randolph Williams, training at the club.
Price had developed a renewed interest in learning Karate under Rhodes.
In 1987 Price was graded to 1st Dan by Rhodes.
Price was developing into a very good young karateka, and his talents were soon recognised. At the age of 15, he was asked by Andy Sherry to join the KUGB Junior England Squad.
Training under Sherry at the famous Red Triangle Dojo, Price would travel to Liverpool once a month, where he would train with the junior squad for 3-4 hours. Squad training was tough, with Sherry pushing his students both mentally and physically. Price credits Sherry with having a big influence on his Karate. Sometimes the Junior Squad had a chance to train with the Senior Squad with the likes of Frank Brennan, Elwyn Hall, Ronnie Christopher, and George Best.
In 1988 Price left school at the age of 15. Being passionate about Karate he decided he wanted to focus on learning and teaching Karate.
Still in love with competing, Price started competing for the Leeds Senior Kumite Team.
In February 1990, Price became a professional Karate instructor. He taught at the Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club. To supplement his income and give him the time to focus on his Karate training, he started working as a doorman at a pub, aged 17. Like another KUGB legend, Terry O’Neill, he had the opportunity to learn real-world techniques from some very experienced doorman.
In 1992 Price had his first international competitive success. At the European Shotokan Karate U21s Championships, held in Monaco, he won an individual bronze medal in kumite. He was also a member of the gold-winning Junior Kumite Team.
By 1999 Price has made the successful transition to the Senior KUGB squad. As a member of the senior team, he trained under KUGB Chief Instructor, Keinosuke Enoeda. Enoeda was a great inspiration to him. Price soon became the captain of the KUGB Team.
In 2000, Price competed at the 8th Shoto World Cup Karate Championship Tournament. This was the JKA’s version of the World Championships. In the Men’s Individual Kumite, Price made it to the quarter-finals where he lost to the eventual winner of the tournament, Toshihito Kokubun. Although Price did not finish on the podium, he was given an honourable mention for his performances during the tournament. In the Men’s Team Kumite, Price helped the British team win third place, behind teams from Japan and Belgium.
Always looking to improve his Karate, Price started training with Paul Newby in 2000. Newby was a WKF English International. Price was introduced to the wider Karate world outside of Shotokan.
In 2002 Price made history by becoming the fourth man, behind Andy Sherry, Terry O’Neill, and Frank Brennan to be crowned KUGB Grand Champion. At the KUGB National Championships, Price won both the kata and kumite titles, making him Grand Champion. His future wife, Zoe (a 3rd Dan), also competed in the Championships. She was runner-up in the Women’s Individual Kumite.
On 29 March 2003 “The Tiger of Shotokan“, Keinosuke Enoeda died. This was a big loss to the KUGB and the wider Karate world.
In 2003 the KUGB made the decision to leave the JKA. The decision meant that they lost access to many of the JKA’s top Japanese instructors.
Price completed in the 2nd 10K Karate Clash. Described as the “Richest Price in Traditional Karate History“, the tournament is a 32-man elite open weight competition held on one night, under full WKF rules, with prize money of £10,000 for the winner. Although Price did not win, he gained valuable experience.
On 4 September 2004, Price took part in the British International Open Karate Championship, held in Crystal Palace. The annual event attracts many of the world’s top competitors. In the Heavyweight category (+80 kg) he finished in second place.
At the ESKA Championships held in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2006, Price became the first British competitor since 1989 to win the title. One of the highlights of his competitive career, Price had been competing in the tournament for 15 years, before achieving this success.
In 2007, Price competed at the World Shotokan Karate Association (WSKA) Championships, held in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He captained the Men’s KUGB Team gold.
Price retired from active competition in 2007.
By 2009, Price had left the KUGB to join the JKS, headed by Masao Kagawa. This gave him the opportunity to train with Japanese instructors again. Price eventually became JKS England Squad Coach.
Price became engaged to his girlfriend Zoe in 2010. The following year, the couple was married on 4 October 2011.
In July 2013, Price took a young team for the 2013 JKS World Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. The team won three bronze medals in the Male Team Kumite, Female Team Kumite, and Girls Kumite 12-13 years.
On 29 July 2013, Price was graded to 6thDan, in front of a grading panel headed by Masao Kagawa, and also including Norman Robinson of South Africa. There were students from England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, the USA, Lebanon, and New Zealand, all attempting the Dan gradings.
On 3 December 2013, the UK Coaching Awards were held at the Montcalm Hotel, Marble Arch, London. Price was the runner-up in the UK Sports Development Coach category. This was for the work he did with both the Leeds Karate Academy and the JKS England National Team. Warren Gatland, the coach of the British and Irish Lions Rugby Team, won the title, for the successful Lions tour of Australia.
Price had developed JKS England into a very good team. Between 12-14 September 2014, the Japan Karate Federation European Championships were held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Price took an 18-strong team representing JKS England and consisting of a mixture of Junior and Seniors. The team had a very successful championship. They won 18 medals ( 8 gold, 1 silver, and 9 bronze).
On 27 November 2014 Price travelled to Tokyo, Japan, alongside Alan Campbell and Steve Carless. The aim of the trip was to attend a JKS international seminar to be held between 29-30 November at the Teikyo University Karate club. The bulk of the training during the seminar was conducted by Masao Kagawa. Takahashi Yamaguchi, the Chief Instructor of the JKS International Department also helped with the training.
During the week-long visit, Price, Campbell, and Carless visited the JKS Hombu to participate in morning and evening training sessions.
In 2017 Price was inducted into the Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI) Hall of Fame, where he was awarded the MAI Lifetime Achievement Award for his Contributions to Karate.
Matt Price has dedicated himself to learning all the aspects of Shotokan Karate. Over the years he has trained with and become friends with some great karateka, including Doug James, Aidan Trimble, Richard Amos, Richard Heselton, Paul Newby, and Nick Heald.
Price has given back to Karate with the numerous articles he has written for Shotokan Karate Magazine. Also together with Ben Richardson, Paul Newby, and Joe Kellaway, Price has created Kumite Coach. This is an online platform for teaching and explaining kumite concepts through high definition videos.
Price and his wife Zoe have two sons and a daughter who all practice Karate.