As you would have read in our previous post ‘Competition Results‘ we had a fantastic time at the annual ESKA competition.

Last week we invited everyone who took part in the competition to bring in their medals and trophies to show them off! Check out the photos!

Read more

I am pleased to be able to share the competition results with all of you!

Ickleford and Biggleswade enjoyed a great amount of success at our first ever competition, so well done everyone. The day started at 10am, so for some you had a very long day, so thank you for bearing with us.

Read more

Yesterday (29th October) ESKA held their annual competition at the ESKA Honbu (Stevenage Leisure Centre).

It was a fantastic day for both Ickleford and Biggleswade clubs, with many trophies and medals.

Read more

On Sunday 17th September 2017 the majority of Ickleford students attended their 2nd grading with ESKA.

The great news is everyone passed with flying colours, even with the challenge of learning a new grading syllabus in a short amount of time, everyone stood up to the mark and impressed the examiners.

A special congratulations to Eren who passed is 2nd Kyu… Now only 2 more public grading’s left!

Grading Results

Now the hard work starts towards the next grading… Keep training hard!

Are you reading this and wish you were on your way to a black belt? Then contact us today!

Pictures From the Grading

Oss Sensei.


Certificates & Belts

On 15th September 2017 at 6pm, we held our first ever Tiger Tot Grading at the Biggleswade Dojo.

I’m pleased to say, everyone passed with flying colours! So we now have some new belts in the Ickleford Dojo


What is a Tiger Tot Grading?

Tiger Tot is the name we give to students under the age of 6. Within the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA) you are unable to grade until you are at least 6 years old. Therefore some clubs only take students on from the age of 6 or 5 3/4, as by the time the grading comes around they will be 6. We understand that there are lots of budding Black Belts that are 5 years old and can’t wait to get started, so we let you join from turning 5.

Rather than let the tiger tots train for a whole year without any new belts, we run a special grading ‘in house’ called the Tiger Tot Grading! We try to hold these as near to the actual ESKA grading as possible (Dates here), that way everyone turns up to their next lesson in a new belt (hopefully).

Pictures from the Grading

It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have 2 newly qualified ESKA Instructors.

On Monday night Sempai Aidan and Rennan successfully completed their final assessment to become official Karate instructors of ESKA.

Sempai Aidan and Rennan Tilbury have been assisting Sensei Steve teaching at the Ickleford club for the last 4 years. Both Aidan and Rennan are passionate about their karate and put everything into their teaching. It is great having 2 individuals that are so dedicated to their training and enjoy passing on their experience to others, as part of the club.


Sadly both will soon be departing us for university, but not before there biggest challenge to date… Running the club whilst Sensei Steve is on holiday. Sempai Aidan and Rennan will be covering Sensei Steve’s holiday and then depart off to university at the beginning of October, but I am sure they will be back for Christmas! I know they will definitely be there at the ESKA Dinner & Dance to collect their Instructors certificates.



Are you a coach or an instructor? 

For most of us, when we took that first step into teaching martial arts, we became an “instructor” or an “assistant instructor”. There may have been style based ranking titles that went with that position (such as a Sempai or Kohai) but fundamentally you saw yourself, and were seen by others, as an instructor.

According to the Webster dictionary an instructor is: “ a person who teaches a subject or skill: someone who instructs people.”

That pretty much sums up how I started – teaching the subject and skills of martial arts to other people. Stances, footwork, striking, blocking, kicking, throwing, restraint and control.

Sure, there may have been a few life lessons I threw in there along the way, stories and anecdotes, but my class preparation simply revolved around what practical SKILLS I was going to teach the class and what DRILLS I was going to use to teach them.

So how is that different to a coach? Most people will think of a coach in a community or professional sporting scenario. That is, the coach of your junior sports club, or the coach of your favourite football or basketball team.

But I’m not talking about sport or competition.

I’m talking about much more than that. I’m talking about really making an impact on those young people you are working with on a weekly basis.

Impacting them on an individual level to be the best – not the best kicker, the best puncher or the best listener but to be the best person they can be. describes coaching as: “formal, professional coaching is carried out by qualified people who work with clients to improve their effectiveness and performance, and help them achieve their full potential.”

The key words there?…

Formal. Professional. Qualified. Improve. Achieve.     

Coaching is about so much more than skills and drills. That’s the instructors part.

A coach provides a formal and professional environment for individuals to improve and achieve their full potential. Not just in martial arts but in their work, their education and their personal life.

A coach guides physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Why not start your journey today…Click here to begin?

The Open Day

The 2nd September was the Open Day of The Orchard Centre (Our Biggleswade Dojo).

All the local clubs, sports and activities that will or are using the centre, were invited to setup a stand and perform a demonstration of their activity. The day was open for anyone from the local community to attend.

The hall was officially opened by the Biggleswade Town Mayor (Michael North) at 10am with the official ‘cutting of the ribbon’ ceremony. Then members of the public were invited inside to look around the facilities and all our stands.

We setup our own stand within the main hall, so we could talk to the local community about what we do and how Karate can benefit everyone, young and old. Sensei Steve & Sempai Rennan were on hand to answer questions and hand out leaflets to all those interested.


At 11:15 we had a slot given to us to perform a demonstration of Karate to everyone that attended.

Sempai Rennan started off the demonstration by performing the Kata Enpi. It was fair to say by the 2nd Kiai and jump that he had everyone’s attention! We then explained what Kata was and that there are 3 main areas to Karate; Kata, Kihon and Kumite.

Sensei Steve and Sempai Rennan then performed their Tokui (Chosen) Kihon Ippon (Basic 1 Step Sparring) and Jiyu Ippon Kumite (Semi Freestyle Sparring).

Finally Sempai Rennan demonstrated some black belt level Kihon from the 1st Kyu grading syllabus.

We received a good round of applause and then invited anyone to come up and have a go at hitting the Pad under some quick instruction.

Other Pictures from the Day


All-in-all it was a great day and we hope to welcome some new students soon.

If you are interested in joining our club, please get in contact here.


The Orchard

We are pleased to share the great news, that the Biggleswade Club is now OPEN!

After a slight hiccup with the first planned opening date of the 11th August (No one opened the hall for us), we re-scheduled the opening for the following Friday, Friday the 18th August at 6pm.

Opening Day

This Friday we managed to get into the hall (now having keys) and we welcomed 8 brand new Karate-ka (Karate Students) to the club. The first lesson was a huge success with smiles all round. It is always a challenge opening a new club, as the students don’t initially have anyone to follow or copy from, so the first lesson has to involve a lot of explanation but at the same time keeping it fun!

Here is what we covered on lesson 1:

  • Warm up – Essential to get those muscles warm to prevent injuries
  • Introduction of Instructors
  • Standing Bow and Kneeling Bow and the etiquette behind this
  • Demonstration of the 3 K’s
    • Kihon – Sempai Tony
    • Kumite – Sempai Tony & Sempai Rennan
    • Kata – Sempai Rennan
  • Split off the lesson into Juniors & Adults
    • Punching
    • Kicking
    • Introduction to blocks
    • Pad work
  • Games for Juniors, Self Defence for Adults


Here are some pictures of the lesson

What to join us?

Do you want to join the Biggleswade club and be one of the very first students? Get in touch on our contact us page…

We are a member club of the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA).

The Orchard

Oss All, I am pleased to share the really exciting news, that we WILL be starting a new club in Biggleswade!!!

We have had confirmation from Biggleswade Council that our first lesson will be 11th August 2017 at the brand new Orchard Centre on the Kings Reach estate.

Check out the Photos

Currently the lesson will be from 7-8pm every Friday. We have asked for the 6-8pm slot, but there was some confusion, meaning we are waiting to hear whether we can have both hours.

Either way its great news and we will be busy advertising for new students as well as hosting lessons for existing Ickleford students.

If you know someone who would like to join the Biggleswade club, then tell them to make an enquiry here.

Oss Sensei.