Dave Wilkins 8th Dan
Dave was initially training to become an athlete and in particular the 800m event through his training he received at Moat Boys School in Leicester. Due to changing schools, however, this training soon stopped and Dave decided to join Leicester Karate Club in 1979 in order to keep up his fitness levels.
Karate soon took over and became a source of inspiration and in 1985 when the former instructor Antony Conroy left the dojo to start a new karate group, it was handed to Dave to continue to develop.
Dave Wilkins has now been training at the Leicester Karate Club for the last 44 years and is still going strong having passed his 6th Dan in July 2007 in Tampere, Finland under Master Kase's Shihan Kai (senior group).
In April 2009, Dave was made an honorary member of the Rengokai by Isamu Arakaki 10th Dan Shorin Ryu. In January 2011 awarded the title of Renshi Rokudan, a title that can only be awarded by a senior Japanese Master.
In August 2012, graded under Sensei Arakaki in the honbu dojo in Okinawa, Japan and was awarded the title of 7th Dan.
In March, 2023, he was awarded 8th Dan by his senior group due to services and dedication to the martial arts. Seniors from Europe and the UK were part of this senior group.
Dave Wilkins is continuing to strive for excellence in this fascinating Martial Art, not only for himself but for all the student's he teaches. A full time karate student and karate teacher, he is devoted to furthering his knowledge and ability.
Dave is CRB checked. Disclosure no. 001145224505
Lauren Frearson 6th Dan
1998 Leicester Sportswoman of the Year
2006 Kazoku Kai Instructor of the Year.
2011 Passed 5th Dan - one of the most senior women in karate in England
August 2012 Passed 5th Dan with Sensei Arakaki in Okinawa, Japan.
2023 Passed 6th Dan - now one of the most senior shotokan women in Europe.
Lauren began initially in 1973 and reached the level of 2nd kyu. She stopped training to start a family. After three children and twelve years later Lauren started training again on the request of her children who were interested in karate. Within twelve months she attained her 1st kyu and her children were all training too. As a testimony to her and her families dedication, spirit and skill levels, within five years her three children all became black belts.
Reaching the level of 4th Dan in Shotokan in 2002 having passed her grade under Master Taiji Kase she is one of the highest ranked women in Kase Ha Shotokan Karate in the UK, In 2011 she was awarded 5th Dan after a U.K grading and then graded 5th Dan under Isamu Arakaki in Okinawa, Japan.
On June 25th after a demanding grading with no shortage of skill and strength, Lauren has passed the high grade of 6th Dan.
Lauren is CRB checked. Disclosure no: 001145224506
Taiji Kase 9th Dan (1929 - 2004)
"Kase, quite simply was an inspiration to us. His karate was so powerful, so clever and one of the best exponents I have ever seen that made karate truly work. He was always approachable, always willing to help and to talk about training. All who knew him will say the same, he was a samurai and a gentleman."
"My advice for the pupils of Karate-Do is very simple. You must remember what Gichin Funakoshi said - "Karate Ni Senti Ashi" (There is no first attack in karate), and understand the idea, mentally as well as technically. You must do everything possible so that the attacker mentally understands that it is better for him not to attack, to feel it and accept this. This is the true meaning of the saying "Karate Ni Sente Ashi" - that the adversary does not begin attacking and so there is no fight."
Isamu Arakaki 10th Dan (1941 - 2013)
"Isamu Arakaki was simply a master karate technician, his attention to detail and his effective powerful techniques were incredible. A warm and friendly man, Lauren and myself got to know the Arakaki family very well. Isamu Arakaki was simply brilliant at developing our skills to an exceptionally high level. He is much missed but he has given us a lasting legacy to pass down to our students."
The president of the Okinawa Prefecture Karatedo Rengokai, Arakaki Isamu sensei, passed away of a colon cancer on March 29, 2013. He was born on December 2, 1941. The president of the Naha Tug of War Association, he was an English teacher at Okinawa Shogaku Senior High School before founding his company Arakaki Tsusho in 1980. Arakaki sensei started karate with Higa Yuchoku sensei when he was 12, became the president of the Rengokai in 2007 and was awarded 10th dan in 2010
Steve Cattle 6th Dan (1947 - 1995)
Steve Cattle was born in York in 1947 and like so many people of his generation his earliest exposure to martial arts was through Judo not karate. Steve was an exceptional
Judoka reaching 2nd Dan, becoming the European Lightweight Champion in 1967 and competing in the World Student Games in Tokyo that same year. However, by that time he had already been exposed to karate starting his training under Sensei Kanazawa in Wetherby. By 1970 Steve had become a member of the K.U.G.B National Team which he remained a member of until 1984. He was one of the K.U.G.B elite - a member of the Technical Committee, a Grading Examiner and professional karate teacher. I use the word “teacher” advisedly because one of Steve’s greatest qualities was his ability to teach rather than instruct. He was a formidable competitor famed for his fighting spirit and tactical ability, winning the KUGB National Championship in 1974 and 1981 and leading the Kirkdale team to victory in 1982. He was part of the British Squad that defeated the Japanese in the World championships in Tokyo something that had never been achieved before.
Steve was influenced very early in his career by a man that we all came to look upon as our godfather – the late Sensei Taiji Kase. He recognized in Sensei Kase a man with a similar body type to his and a kindred -spirit – in Kase this was the Samurai spirit and in Steve his much vaunted Viking spirit. He also recognised that Kase Sensei had something different, something more to offer than the other Japanese instructors. After the first meeting he trained with Kase Sensei at every opportunity absorbing the essence of Kase’s karate, learning and developing his techniques and methods.
In 1989 following the death of Sensei Nakayama, Kase Sensei decided to leave the J.K.A and founded the World Karate-do Shotokan Academy and he asked Steve as one of his senior and
long standing students to choose between the J.K.A and his new Academy. Almost without hesitation he chose Kase’s direction and gave up a secure career and a substantial income as a professional in the K.U.G.B to start the E.S.A, taking with him a group of like -minded souls. His words to those of us who joined him in the venture were, “Sensei Kase is planning a system of Shotokan Karate which will take us not into the 1990’s but into the next century. I intend to follow him; I simply want to get better.”