Welcome to Titchen.com
, which is the online hub for my thoughts on Practical Karate
and Personal Safety
that I share via my articles, books, blog, international seminars, and videos.
I’m a best-selling martial arts author, founder of DART Karate, international coach and training advisor, co-curricular education specialist, two-time transplant survivor and nerd.
You can watch short previews of some of my work on my youtube channel
, read some helpful tips on my blog
, or become a supporter
and see more of what I share in my books and international seminars. :)
Want to know more about my background and my training?
Read on below - or skip to the good stuff by clicking on the top menu!
Defining my karate is difficult as every long-practicing karateka will find their training and their interests will ultimately bring them to their own style.
I teach two karate systems: my original core art of Shotokan and my own personal karate which I teach to my students as DART (Defence Attack and Resolution Tactics).
It was never my intention to create a ‘new’ karate system; that is something that evolves naturally from the experience of training and introspection on extrovert practice. DART Karate was the result of applied and evolved pressure tested bunkai brought together into a holistic pedagogy as seen through the medium of research into violent crime, psychology, the law, sports science and education.
Even talking of Shotokan Karate and DART Karate is not an accurate description of what I do, for my Shotokan isn’t the karate of my teacher (Roger Hall 8th Dan), but a hybrid of the modern Japanese karate he taught, my interpretations of the books of founder Gichin Funakoshi, and the perspectives I have gained on my personal karate journey so far. I see my approaches to Shotokan and DART as different criss-crossing routes up the same mountain.
My Karate Journey
As a child from a military family I went to a boarding school and started karate in my late teens. I was lucky in that in my second year of training my instructor upped our weekly classes to seventeen hours a week, giving me the benefit of a good foundation in basic technique. I was awarded my first Dan grade in Shotokan Karate in 1995 by Shihan Roger Hall.
An early experience of cross training whet my appetite for exploring Karate and katat bunkai in greater depth and I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to cross train with a wide range of leading martial artists and subject matter specialists in diverse fields in different countries including...
Iain Abernethy, Pierre Chassang, Rick Clark, Mark Dawes, Roger Hall, Ken Hassell, Tetsuhiro Hokama, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Nathan Leverton, Alan Murphy, Mike Narey, Graham Palmer, “Master Ken”, Ian Rose, John Tidder and Waldo Zapata.
Some of them I’ve only trained with on one occasion, others in several seminars, others still have been teachers that I have trained with for years, and a number I am fortunate to consider as good friends. They aren’t all karateka, and while not all are famous names in their respective disciplines, I consider myself very lucky to have met them.
I've always had a passion for research, and in addition to my best-selling karate bunkai books I've shared my ideas as a former regular columnist for Traditional Karate Magazine and the ezine Jissen and in interviews with Combat Magazine and Martial Arts Planet. I also have a youtube channel where I share my knowledge, and with over twenty years experience of teaching in the field of martial arts and self protection I’ve been invited to teach seminars in the UK, the USA, Canada and Europe.
After a delay resulting from the failure of my first transplant, three years after its creation, I published my first book Heian Flow System: effective karate kata bunkai in 2007. In 2014 and 2015 I published my new best-selling four part series Pinan Flow System: karate kata application for beginner to black belt. In 2016 I published Karate and Self Defence - Selected Articles.
I’ve always been inspired in my training by the words of Archilochus
“We do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training."
My Personal Safety and Conflict Management
With a background as a co-curricular education specialist, I’ve predominantly focused on delivering my ideas, experience and research on personal safety in self defence courses for older teenagers.
About a decade ago I made the decision to start running Scenario Simulation Training for martial artists, medical professionals, security industry professionals, law enforcement and military personnel.
I have been lucky enough to have gained international praise and recognition for the methodology I have chosen to employ and have taken this training to Canada at the request of a highly experienced law enforcement officer. I deliver lectures and seminars both in the UK and abroad.
My background in Self ProtectionTraining
I first became interested in orientating my training and research towards Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Self Defence in about 1995, but it wasn’t until 1999 while researching for my PhD in Mediaeval History that I began to use my skill set to research in the field in earnest.
My teaching draws together personal and professional experience of aggressive and violent situations alongside my own research, ideas drawn from the written works of some of the other leading authorities in the field, insights from friends who currently work in law enforcement and close protection, and the regular reports produced by agencies such as the UK Home Office, Cardiff University's Violence Research Group and the FBI.
In addition to practical experience I hold a number of professional qualifications which underpin my teaching:
Qualified Teacher Status with the Department for Education and the Society for Education and Training.
Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
Edexcel Level 4 BTEC Professional Award: PTLLS
Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Advanced Award in Self Defence Instruction
Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Advanced Award: Coaching and Instructing in Physical Restraint Practice
Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Advanced Award: Physical Restraint Practice
Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Award in the Delivery of Conflict Management Training
CIEH Level 2 Award in Principles of Manual Handling
Enhanced DBS Clearance and DfE approved Child Protection Training
Heartstart Emergency First Aid Trainer
Expedition First Aid Trainer
Emergency First Aid at Work
Member of the Society for Education and Training
My emphasis is on providing training that enables people to avoid, deter, negate and escape aggressive and violent situations.
What do my friends say about me?
"Karate is undergoing a revolution. Not a revolution that uproots the past, but instead one that returns to the past to water the roots of our tradition so that, after decades of stasis, it may grow and flourish. There is no doubt in my mind that John Titchen is one of the leading lights of this modern revolution (re-evolution?). John is someone who I always enjoy discussing karate and self-protection with. Every time we talk in person or online I find myself reassured by our commonalities and excited by our divergences. John is also someone who, to me, embodies the warrior spirit. Easygoing and thoughtful in nature, but who has a determination and love of what he does that is as infectious as it is inspirational."
"John Titchen and his scenario training is excellent. John would probably be, in the UK at least, the go to guy (for Scenario training). Instructors want to know what they are teaching is realistic, but how can they be sure if they’ve never had been involved in a real situation? Getting involved in real situations is obviously not the answer! So how to we solve the seeming paradox of wanting to gain the vital experience needed without doing anything illegal, stupid or unethical? The answer is realistic simulation training and, for my money, John Titchen is the number 1 guy when it comes to providing such training in a professional, realistic and ego free way."
Iain Abernethy, 6th Dan, World Combat Association.
"I am the Canadian Director of the Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association and have been involved in martial arts and Law Enforcement for many years now (far too many than I care to mention). John is someone who I have known for some time now and I wholeheartedly endorse his approach and his teachings. Everyone - especially "seasoned" or experienced martial artists - should train with John any chance they get to see how much of what they know is applicable and more importantly how much isn't. I don't endorse many people, and believe me I do get asked a lot; this is one I am happy to offer without being asked."
Sifu Jay Cooper, Canadian Director of the Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association.
"Dr Titchen's current work adds to the body of knowledge in the martial arts."
Rick Clark, 8th Dan, Chief Instructor AoDenkou Kai International.
"One of the most enjoyable days training ever, after many years of traditional tkd training this felt like the missing piece of the jigsaw! Well constructed with good feedback, a great leveller, physically tough and emotionally challenging but ultimately most enlightening....... must come back!"
Tom Coleman, 7th Dan, Tae Kwon Do Association of Great Britain.
“Sensei John delivered a remarkable seminar, leaving us with a deeper understanding of the 5 Shotokan Heian Kata. His knowledge on the subject is staggering, spanning some 25 years of training. His teaching method was structured and pleasant and kept all of us involved and interested throughout. It was a fantastic experience for all who took part. Truly an amazing experience for us all by a gentleman Sensei who not only shared with us openly an integrated system of Heian applications to make our Karate more complete, but also taught us invaluable life lessons with his example, attitude and indomitable spirit. Thank You Sensei John."
Sensei James Galea, 6th Dan, Malta Karate Federation.
"I have been training in the martial arts for over twenty years and have been fortunate enough to have had some very good instructors. It is not often that I am truly impressed by another instructor, but John Titchen struck me as being on a different level to most. A true understanding of his subject matter, backed up by a very impressive CV. Since training with John and his students I am keen to expose my own students to his training."
Simon Sheridan, Chief Instructor, HAVOC Jeet Kune Do UK.
"Sensei John was fantastic as an instructor and as a person. His teaching method was structured and pleasant and kept all of us involved and interested throughout. "
Sensei Jesmond Schembri, Malta Karate Federation.
"My second simday, another enjoyable and rewarding day. It reassured many aspects of my training under pressure. It also showed some weaknesses and areas to concentrate on. Again loads to take away. I highly recommend John Titchen's Simday, if you want to test what you think you do."
Graham Palmer, 5th Dan, Norwich Shotokan Karate Club.