I specialise in delivering personal safety training, modern karate practice, and writing about self protection and the martial arts.
I began my martial arts training in Shotokan Karate in 1991. Early cross-training in Steelwire Mantis and years of Aikido training whet my appetite for personal study and cross-training. I realised very quickly that I wanted to explore personal safety, self defence and karate in greater depth. In 1995 I was awarded my first black belt in Shotokan Karate by Shihan Roger Hall. In addition to my own studies I have held external Self Protection qualifications in three other systems. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to cross-train with many great teachers and have been influenced by a wide range of subject matter specialists in diverse fields in different countries.
My teaching draws together personal and professional experience of aggressive and violent situations and abuse alongside concepts drawn from the written works of some of the other leading authorities in their fields. I use insights from law enforcement alongside research of the regular reports produced by agencies like the UK Home Office, the VSRG, and the FBI.
With nearly thirty years of experience of teaching in the field of martial arts and self protection I’ve had the privilege of teaching in the UK, the USA, Canada and Europe.
My former career alongside my personal safety and karate interests was in education. I have a PhD from the University of St Andrews and taught history in Secondary Schools and at University. I also worked in pastoral roles with teenagers as a form tutor and boarding house tutor. Most of my career focused on co-curricular education and I was an Educational Visits Coordinator and staff on Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions. I have been a First Aid Trainer and Assessor, a High and Low Ropes Confidence Course Instructor, and a Lifeguard. As a former RAFVR Officer I have been fortunate to have had a rewarding Tri-Service career. I delivered training as an Obstacle Course Instructor, a Weapons Instructor, a BFTT Exercise Director and a Company Adventurous Training Officer. Serving as the Commanding Officer of two CCF Contingents and as a TEST Staff Officer was a privilege. I also advised on policy development on the CCF Executive Committee and the CCF (RAF) Sounding Board. My training in high quality risk assessment came from the Army, the RAF and the Royal Geographical Society.
My Books and Blog
I have been humbled by the popularity of my books across North and South America, the UK, Europe, India and Japan. I am a former regular columnist for Traditional Karate Magazine (2005-8) and the ezine Jissen. I’ve also featured in interviews with Combat Magazine (2005) and Martial Arts Planet. I now write personal safety and karate articles on my own blog to reach an international audience.
Written in 2004, I published my first book Heian Flow System: effective karate kata bunkai in 2007. Between 2014 and 2015 I published my best-selling four-book series Pinan Flow System: karate kata application for beginner to black belt. I then published Karate and Self Defence in 2016. I am one of the guest writers in The Problem of Practical Karate (2018). In 2020 I published Karate Beyond Kata – melting ice into water and I also contributed to the ebook Rules for Success in Karate. In 2021 I published Volume Two of Karate & Self Defence. I currently have further books under development and will be focusing more on personal safety advice.
I mainly focus on using my experience and decades of research on personal safety to deliver courses and training for teenagers. They are one of the most affected and influenceable groups in society. In 2008 I began running Scenario Training for martial artists, medical and security professionals, law enforcement and military personnel. I continue to travel internationally to deliver seminars on personal safety and practical karate for self defence.
My emphasis is on providing safe and effective training and advice that enables people to avoid, deter, negate and escape aggressive, abusive and violent situations. In addition to practical experience I hold a broad range of professional qualifications which underpin my approach to teaching.
My Regular Classes
In my regular classes in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, I teach two different training approaches. These are Kyohan Shotokan and DART (Defence Attack and Resolution Tactics).
DART is a continuously developing personal safety focused karate system. It applies research into violent crime, psychology, the law, and sports science to pressure tested karate.
The Shotokan I teach is a hybrid of my interpretation of founder Gichin Funakoshi’s teaching and my own training perspectives. In my Kyohan Shotokan Karate curriculum I mainly focus on teaching my Pinan Flow System alongside approaches to Tekki.
I see my approaches to Shotokan and DART as different criss-crossing routes up the same mountain.
Discover your limits, then change them.