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Instructor profiles

John Bruce 5th Dan

Sensei John Bruce began training in 1990 at the tender age of 6 years old. He gained his 1st Dan in 1994 (Sensei Enoeda), 2nd Dan in 1996 (Sensei Enoeda), 3rd Dan in 2005 (Sensei Sherry), 4th Dan in 2009 (Sensei Sherry) and 5th Dan in 2014 (Sensei Sherry).

At the age of 18, he became a qualified KUGB instructor. In 2004 he began teaching Karate full-time at Sendai Kushiro Karate based in the North East of England.

John had a successful competitive career. At the age of 14 years old he was selected to train on the England squad. In 2000 he made his England debut competing at the ESKA Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.

In 2001, Vienna, Austria, John was a member of the England Junior Kumite Team who won Gold at the European Championships. In 2003 he was crowned World Individual Junior Kumite Champion in Zurich, Switzerland. More international success came with the England Senior Male Team Kumite, winning the European title in 2007 (Porto, Portugal), 2008 (Crawley, England) and 2009 (Wels, Austria) as well as the World title in 2007 (Bydgoszcz, Poland) and 2009 (Cancun, Mexico).

John also had success domestically, winning various junior and senior titles including Senior Grand Champion at the Shotokan Cup in 2009 and Senior Grand Champion at the KUGB Nationals in 2010.

John is currently a member of the KUGB executive committee and Treasurer of the Northern Region. He is the chief instructor of Sendai Kushiro Karate and teaches courses across the UK.


Sensei Enoeda Memorial Trophy, KUGB National Championships 2010.

Marty Olver 5th Dan

Marty Olver started Karate in August 1985 at the age of thirty-four at the Kushiro karate club, after much encouragement from his wife Carol and sons Christian & Stephen who had joined earlier. He is very thankful to them for introducing him to 'the most enjoyable and rewarding sport' he has had the pleasure to participate in.

He took his first grading with Sensei Bob Poynton in December 1985 and passed orange belt. In those early days it was common for people to would sometimes train seven days a week at different Dojo's and was inspired by Sensei's Bill Brazier, Jeff Barwick and Christine Pullen. Marty passed Shodan in February 1989 with Sensei Sherry, Nidan in 1992 and Sandan in 1997 with Sensei Enoeda. In 1997 Marty and Carol took over the running of the Kushiro Karate Club and ran it up until September 2007 when Sensei John James Bruce took over the running of the club. Marty continued training under the guidance of Sensei John James and passed Yondan in April 2008. Although he started karate relatively late in life over the past twenty-five years he has never felt that he was too old to do karate and enjoy it as much now as he did the first time he stepped onto the Kushiro dojo in 1985.

Marty at the Kushiro Dojo 2010

Holly Sterling 4th Dan

Holly began training in the southern region of England at the age of ten years old. She gained her 1st Dan Black Belt in 1999, at the age of twelve. She progressed to 2nd Dan in 2001 and her 3rd Dan in 2009.

At the age of thirteen Holly was selected to be part of the KUGB England junior kumite squad and in the same year, invited to be on the KUBG kata squad. In 2003 Holly was selected for her England debut competing at the European Shotokan Championships in Sunderland, and has since been a regular member of the England team.

At the European Championships in Wroclaw, Poland, 2005 Holly came 3rd in the Junior Ladies Individual Kumite event and was a member of the England Junior Ladies Kumite Team winning Gold. She continued her success the following year in Lucerne, Switzerland, by winning 2nd place in the Junior Ladies Individual Kumite 2006.

The year 2009 was a great year for Holly on the international stage. She came 3rd in the Senior Ladies Kata event at the World Championships (Cancun, Mexico) and at the European Championships (Wels, Austria) she was a member of the Senior Ladies Team Kumite coming 2nd. The 2010 European Championships (Koblenz, Germany) saw the Senior Ladies team continuing with their success coming 3rd.

Adding to her achievements internationally Holly has continued with success domestically winning various titles including 2009 and 2010 Grand Champion (winning individual Kata and Kumite) at the Northern Region Championships. In 2012 Holly became only the third ever female competitor, in the 46 year history, to win both Kata and Kumite (Grand Champion) events at the KUGB National Championships, Holly then went on to make history the following year (2013) by becoming the first female competitior to be crowned Grand Champion at the KUGB Nationals twice. 

In 2006 Holly moved to the northern region studying Illustration and Design at the University of Sunderland. Whilst studying at university Holly competed at the BUSA/BUCS championships bringing home results for Sunderland three years running. In 2008 she won the Ladies Kumite, in 2009 she became Grand Champion winning both the Kata and Kumite events and in 2010 she took Gold in the Kumite and silver in Kata.

Holly continues to compete at the highest level and has also recently started up a new class at The Freemans Quay Leisure Centre, County Durham, where she is passing on her vast knowledge and expertise to some potential future champions.

WSKA Ladies Kata Semi Final 2009

Mark Henderson 3rd Dan

Having always been fascinated by the portrayal of martial arts in the movies, I decided to give it a go for myself and see if I was capable of pulling off the moves displayed by screen icons such as Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

As a result I started my own martial arts journey under the guidance of Sensei Jeff Barwick and began training in January 1997 at Sunderland Sendai Karate Club, and after almost 14 years of trying, I can say that Hollywood certainly does not have a new action hero!

Despite this career set back, I continue to train regularly at Sendai Karate Club, now under the tutelage of Sensei John James Bruce, and achieved the grade of 2nd dan in October 2007 under the watchful eyes of Sensei Sherry and Poynton.

Mark is a talented karate-ka and instructor who practices what he teaches, Mark rarely misses a session and always shows a great attitude. Mark is a regular instructor at the Sunderland dojo's. 

Teaching at Sendai 2010

Peter Stothard 2nd Dan

Peter started training at the club under Sensei Jeff Barwick in 2003, shortly after in 2004, Sensei John Bruce took over the club, and Peter has trained with him since. In October 2007 Peter successfully passed his Shodan (1st Dan) under the watchful eye of Sensei Sherry, 9th Dan and Sensei Poynton, 8th Dan. Peter then passed his Nidan (2nd Dan) in October 2011 again under the watchful eye of Sensei Sherry, 9th Dan. 

Peter has competed in various competitions and was also selected onto the KUGB England Junior Kumite Squad where he trained and competed at the Grand Slam events in 2008.  Peter now enjoys teaching and passing on his knowledge onto the younger members. Peter is a very dedicated member and was awarded our clubs 'Senior Student of the Year' in 2013. Peter is now training towards his 3rd Dan.

Sensei Peter training

Simon Brown 1st Dan

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