Sensei Keith Gullen is the Chief Instructor for the York Shotokan Karate Club. He has a record of training unparalleled in the North of England, starting when he was a white belt in 1971.
Sensei Keith took his first Dan in 1975, three and a half years after he started training. The grading panel was exceptionally illustrious, with the Kihon table manned by Mori Sensei, Yahara Sensei, and Tomita Sensei. The Kumite table was equally demanding under the stewardship of Kon Sensei, Abe Sensei and Kawasoe sensei. The kata was taken by Keinosuke Enoeda, head of the KUGB. He continued to grade, taking his 2nd Dan in 1977 under the charge of the legendary Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa under whom he also took his 3rd Dan in 1980.
In 1985 he was a noted karateka and was selected to tour Japan with Kato Shihan, the chief of the JKA. He trained at many different clubs and was invited to train with Masatoshi Nakayama at his private dojo. He trained extensively at the infamously gruelling Takushoku university dojo, where many of the finest karateka of the past century started their training.
Instructors from other clubs
We also have instructors from the Selby (Sensei Paul Brandt 3rd Dan) and JKS York (Sensei Simon Flint 3rd Dan) Shotokan Karate Clubs come and train with us on a regular basis, enhancing the training of everyone in the club.
Assistant Club Instructor: Sempai Michael Dean 2nd Dan
Chief Club Instructor: Sensei Keith Gullen 7th Dan
Mike started training in 2005 and has trained with the York Shotokan Karate Club and Sensei Keith Gullen ever since, gaining his 1st Dan under Sensei Alan Campbell and Yutaka Koike in 2011. He has always followed Sensei Keith’s encouragement to train with as many instructors as possible, as often as possible, and has represented the club in competitions at a local and national level. Mike runs the beginner’s courses and assists Sensei Keith with the running of the club.
In 1986 he took his 4th Dan under Kato Sensei, who invited him to tour Japan with him, training at many clubs including Hosei university. Kato Sensei subsequently awarded him his 5th Dan in 1991, following which he formed part of the winning Kumite team at the 1993 JKA World Championships in South Africa. In 1994 the JKA European Championships were in Switzerland, where he took Gold in the Individual Kumite.
In 1995 he took his 6th Dan under the legendary Asai Sensei, Yamaguchi Sensei and Kato Sensei. This was followed in 1997 by leading the kata team to victory in the World Championships in Moscow.
In 2007 he took his 7th Dan under Kato Shihan to reach a level few in this country have attained, crowning a lifetime of achievement at the highest level in karate. He has always trained with and learnt from as many different instructors as possible, something encouraged by Kato Shihan. This is not necessarily common in the world of karate, but the standard that Kato Shihan teaches is accepted anywhere and he is confident that his students will be recognised and appreciated wherever they train.
Sensei Keith Gullen remains one of the most experienced karateka in England and leads the club in training at the highest level.