Described by many as one of the nicest people in Karate, Terry Daly was a child of the Bruce Lee era. He was always destined to find his way into martial arts. He is one of the leading Uechi-Ryu practitioners in the United Kingdom. A successful competitor, it is as a coach that he’s made his name.
Terry Daly was born on 4 April 1957 in London, to parents from the Caribbean. He had a sister.
In the early 1970s, Bruce Lee had taken the world by storm. It was in 1972 that a 15-year-old Daly became interested in martial arts.
In 1974 Daly had one Judo lesson. However, in the summer of that year, he and his family moved to Boston, United States.
Looking for something to do, Daly came across the Mattson’s Academy of Karate, located in downtown Boston. The dojo belonged to Uechi-Ryu practitioner, George Mattson and was open seven days a week.
Daly’s first instructor was Bob Campbell, who was a member of the United States Karate team. For the first two and a half months he trained every day. The dojo was like a second home to him.
While training at the dojo, Daly began competing in tournaments. He found he loved competing. Of the ten tournaments he entered, he won six trophies.
In 1976 Daly returned of the year to the UK with his sister. By the time he had been promoted to brown belt.
In the UK, Daly began training with Ron Ship. Ship taught the same style Uechi-Ryu Daly had practised in Boston. The dojo was located in Shenfield, Essex.
Although Daly enjoyed his training at his new club, they did not enter tournaments. He missed competing.
In 1978 Daly was promoted to 1st Dan.
Daly opened his first dojo in 1980, in Bethnal Green, East London. Initially, he taught classes twice a week.
A young Wayne Otto began training at the dojo, aged 14.
Daly’s students were eager to compete, so he started entering them in tournaments. Similar to a class at George Mattson’s dojo, he started a kumite-only class. He was one of the few instructors in England to do so. The class would eventually attract many top competitors such as Mervyn Etienne and Wayne Otto.
Apart from entering his students into tournaments, Daly also completed. He would go on to become an English and British Kumite Champion several times. His successes earned him call-ups off to teams coached by Ticky Donovan. He represented his country at a European and World level.
In 1982, Daly had the opportunity to visit Okinawa on a training trip. This was the first time he had the chance to train with Okinawan or Japanese instructors. Other members of the training trip included Davor Lovincic, James Thompson, Stephen Hannah, Jim Smith, and Ken Smith.
Between 11-13 May 1990, the 25th European Championships were held in Vienna, Austria. Daly was selected to an English squad that included, Ian Cole, Charles Bailey, Willie Thomas, Greg Francis, Paul Alderson, and Mervyn Etienne.
Between 8–11 November 1990, the 10th World Karate Championships were held in Mexico. Daly reached the quarter-finals of the Kumite Open Ippon event. Britain won its fifth consecutive Men’s Team Kumite title. Daly’s students, Wayne Otto and Charles Bailey were in the team that defeated France in the final. Otto also became a World Champion by winning the Kumite Open Sanbon event.
Between 3-5 May 1996, the 31st European Karate Championships were held in Paris France. At the age of 39, Daly was elected to represent England in the Open Kumite event. He finished his third place behind champion, Christophe Pinna.
In 1996 Vic Charles was appointed the coach of the English National Karate Team for the EKGB. His main aim was to bring more youngsters into an ageing squad. Daly was appointed a member of his coaching team.
The 33rd European Karate Championships, held in Belgrade, Serbia between 2-4 May 1998, Daly helped coach England to a gold medal in the final of the Team Kumite against Italy.
Between 15–18 October 1998, the 14th World Karate Championships were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daly helped coach England to a silver medal in the Team Kumite event behind France.
On 13 August 2005, Daly married his wife Claire. They would go on to have two children. Claire would also earn a promotion to black belt in Uechi-Ryu.
In 2009 Okinawan Uechi-Ryu instructor, Hirokuni Yamashiro, what a guest instructor at Daly’s London dojo.
Because of his traditional and competitive Karate background, Daly is frequently invited to be a guest instructor of various courses.
Between 20-23 August 2015, Daly was one of several guest instructors invited to the 4-day 25th, International Summer Camp in the town of Furstenfeld, Austria. The camp was organised by Gerhard Jedliczka.
In May 2017 Daly was promoted to 7th Dan. The following year he was appointed the chairman of the Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Association (GB).
Between 4-6 October 2019, the 11th Kodosai Japanese Cultural Event was held at the Holiday Inn in Basildon, Essex. The event coincided with the 70th Anniversary of Basildon as a new town.
Daly was one of 26 instructors from around the world invited to promote friendship through martial arts.
A former English and British Champion, Daly has coached many juniors to international success. This includes Tayla O’Brien, Andrew Hajithemistou, Gerald Ashby, and Jamaal Otto.
Away from Karate Daly and his family are Tottenham Hotspur supporters, who go to matches whenever they get the chance.