Masoe Kawasoe was born in 1945, his father was a Japanese businessman and he has two brothers. His parents stay in Kyushu in the south of Japan. Sensei Kawasoe now resides in London and has done for over 19 years. He began his martial arts training in judo and at the age of 15 saw a karate demonstration. This so impressed him he started looking to find a dojo to train. One of his first instructors was the world famous Sensei Tysuama, who’s home was in the same town, Saga City. Training through his high school and then going to the famous karate University of Takushoku, he continued to train with Sensei Tysuama
This training took the form of 6 days per week, 3 hours per day for 4 years. During this time he was spotted by the Japan Karate Association and invited to take fulltime JKA instructors course under Sensei Nakayama. He successfully completed this over the next 3 years. Upon graduating as an international JKA Instructor, Sensei Nakayama said of him:
“Through his mastery of karate basic’s he has come to reach a level few achieve, his technique inspires all who see it to strive for the ideals of Shotokan Karate.”
High honor indeed from the head of the JKA. He then taught in Taiwan and Madagascar before coming to Britain in 1974. His dedication to tradition, quality and manners is universally acknowledged, with few able to perform the physical demands he makes of himself. He has a world-wide following of senior students who have been with him and followed tradition by developing and teaching excellent Shotokan Karate. Long may this continue and, in his own words:
” I am lucky to have good karate, but even more I am lucky to have good students to carry it forward. My wish is to leave something worthwhile behind for everyone. My life is then complete.”
Sensei Stephen first started karate in 1984, at the old Millfield Gymnasium in Belfast at the tender age of 19. After several months, he was asked by Sensei Andy McAvoy to join his Bangor dojo to train alongside the senior grades even though he was a beginner. The Bangor dojo was under the K.U.I. (Karate Union of Ireland) at that time, under Sensei Tommy McGrane (RIP). In those days there was a close link with the K.U.G.B. and Stephen attended regular training courses in England, especially the renowned University of Lancaster summer camp and Crystal Palace, under Sensei Eneoda (RIP).
Having completed his studies in Belfast, Stephen moved to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to attend University. There he studied and trained at the University club as well as Eldon Square club which had regular guest instructors such as Bob Rhodes, Bob Poynton and Harry Cooke.
After his time at University he returned to Belfast where he continued his training with the Bangor club. Having attained black belt in England, Stephen regularly cross trained in other martial arts including Tae Kwon Do, Mu Gen Do kick boxing, Muay Thai, JuJitsu and full contact karate.
In 2010, Stephen was transferred to Moscow, Russia, with work for 3 years. During this time Stephen regularly trained in the Olympic Stadium with the Russian Traditional Karate Federation under the instruction of Vladislav Eloyan and Sensei Masoe Kawasoe.
On his return to Northern Ireland in 2013, Stephen started the Lisburn club with 3 students. Through hard work and dedication the club now boasts 85 members of all ages, grades, abilities and gender. It really is a family orientated club, with parents training alongside their children.
Stephen has continually competed at all levels including Regional, National and International level, achieving many accolades and medals for both Kata and Kumite. He now at the age of 55, still competes at Veterans level both here, across the water and on European stages.
The club is affiliated to JKA WF Northern Ireland (Japan Karate Association) and to the JKA World Federation under the instruction of our Chief Instructor, Sensei Masoe Kawasoe, 8th Dan JKA and all grades are recognised both here and in Japan and across the World. Stephen is also a licensed JKA Instructor and Referee as well as having the additional qualifications
· Access NI Disclosure
· Safe Guarding Children in Sport
· Designated Child Protection Officer qualified
· Sports First Aid
· Public Liability Insurance
Krav Maga is a close combat defence system, devised by the Israeli Special Forces and is used by military all over the world.
Gillian's journey in Krav Maga started actually as a little girl. Her grandmother was from Israel and used to show her some moves , that's when the passion began.
Having moved around England with work and having children she then decided to take up Krav Maga, a little over 6 years ago.
Gillian took to her training with vigour and worked through both the military and then the civilian syllabuses.
To ensure that all her belt gradings were to a very high standard Gillian undertook all her belt gradings a year apart and after 5 years attained the coveted “Black Belt”.
Another 12 months of continual training along with several three day intensive, specific courses she undertook her instructors qualification.
Once again, Gillian achieved her second goal – a fully qualified Krav Maga instructor. This was no mean feat as it is primarily aimed at the male population, but Gillian has shown that the system works well for both women and children.
The women’s classes are a great success as it teaches women to retake control, empower themselves and gives them the necessary skills to help protect themselves. The children’s classes are geared towards anti-bullying and to use safe zones to keep themselves safe.
Gillian has continued to cross train in other martial arts, she currently holds a brown belt in Shotokan Karate, and continually attends seminars including Silat, Kali / Escrima, Improvised Weapons, Bowie Knife, Close Protection, as well as ground / floor work with JuJitsu and Brazilian JuJitsu seminars.
Krav Maga means close combat, it teaches our flight or fight scenario it's real life street defence . Fantastic for women to learn anti rape drills and basic techniques which will one day save their lives. Gillian believes it's not just the techniques and skills achieved, it's far more, it's mental health and physical health.
As a Krav Maga instructor Gillian is fully insured and has Access NI and Safeguarding Children in Sport documentation – she is currently working though the Safe Haven for Women programme.