Spotlights and Profiles of 2019 – Part 2

In 2019 we featured some talented and inspirational martial artists.


Terry O’Neill is a true legend of British martial arts and Shotokan Karate. As a competitor and instructor he is one of the most respected martial artist.  

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Considered the “Father of European Karate”, Henri Plee is a true pioneer. He studied many martial arts with some of the world’s top masters. He held a 10th Dan in Karate, a 5th Dan in Judo, a 3rd Dan in Aikido and a 1st Dan in Kendo. 

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One of the highest ranked Wado-ryu practitioners in the United Kingdom, Chris Thompson has trained with many of the first Wado-ryu instructors to come over to the UK. 

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Bob Poynton has been involved in the upper echelons of British Karate as a top competitor, a respected instructor, and one of the top administrators in British Karate. Alongside the likes of Andy Sherry and Terry O’Neill he was a pioneer of Shotokan Karate in the Liverpool area. 

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Within American Shotokan Karate, Robin Rielly is a true pioneer. Practising Karate in the early 1960s in Okinawa, he went on to become one of the first Americans to be promoted to 6th Dan in Shotokan.

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Ray Dalke is a true pioneer of American Shotokan Karate. He began training in the 1960s and has trained with a who’s who of American and Japanese Shotokan Karate. A noted competitor, at one time he was one of the most feared fighters on the tournament scene. Sometimes seen as a rebel, he has helped with the development and growth of Shotokan Karate in the United States.

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A pioneer of British Wado-ryu Karate, Peter Spanton is one of the first generation of British karateka.

For many years Chuck Merriman has been one of the most recognisable faces in Karate. He has been instrumental in popularising Goju-ryu Karate around the world.

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At times, Dan Ivan’s life has read like a work of fiction. His exploits in occupied Japan after World War II, as a member of the Criminal Investigations Detachment (CID) are legendary. 

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Frank Nowak was an exceptional karateka. He was one of the few Europeans to complete the grueling JKA Instructors Course. What distinguished him from other karateka was his attention to detail. T

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Bob Rhodes is a long-time member of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB). His profile may not be as high as other senior KUGB members. However, he is highly respected by those in the know. 

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The legendary Bill “Superfoot” Wallace named him in his list of “Top 10 Karate Fighters of All Time”, and he has also been described as “America’s greatest JKA Fighter“. Frank Smith was one of the big stars of the tournament scene in the 1960s and 70s. 

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One of the most devastating and destructive fighters, Hiroki Kurosawa was known for his relentless attacks and powerful and kicks. 

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Author: Patrick Donkor

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