SKCE’s senior instructors
A qualified committee of up to 7th Dan Black Belt instructors oversees all teaching and training. All have studied karate for over 40 years. SKCE instructors are CRB/DBS checked and insured.
All are experienced in teaching children as well as adults. SKCE has a child safety policy, members’ insurance and issues training licences.
SKC England Chairman
Sensei Gerry Grey - 5th Dan
My introduction to Shotokan Karate was in the early 1970’s through my late younger brother Mike Grey who was at the time a Shodan.
My very successful football career was unfortunately, or fortunately with benefit of hindsight, ended by a serious spinal injury forcing early retirement at the age of 30.
Mike who was running the successful Slough area clubs decided in 1973 to relocate to Kettering near me and established clubs in Wellingborough and Kettering. I joined him at training ‘just to help me keep fit’ but I quickly realised the potential karate training offered especially for the over 30’s. The Wellingborough Club which I took over a few years later is still operating to this day which makes me very proud.
In the 1970’s training was very repetitious to the point of often being tedious, but as time would tell it was thoroughly worth it. It was very challenging especially for someone in their 30’s but at least the constant repetition taught you how to execute the fundamental techniques correctly which of course helped all the other aspects involved. Sad to say but today karateka are in far too much of a rush to collect grades that they miss out so much that would help enhance their overall performance capabilities.
In the mid 70’s after a brief encounter with competitions, there were no categories in those days for veterans, I found myself appointed to the KUGB national executive, as their Press and Public Relations Officer and it opened up opportunities for me dealing with the media of the day and to help improve the general public awareness of the concept that karate was not just fighting but required great skill and ability to perform at the highest level. During the 70’s and 80’s there were some great champions, who came through the KUGB system, which quite possibly will never be surpassed although SKCE have produced a number of youngsters who have achieved good results at world level which is encouraging.
This period also gave me greater access to Enoeda Sensei, one of the all-time Shotokan greats and together endeavoured to improve the potential spectacle that could be created through producing good championships.
During the next two decades I became responsible for directing KUGB’s national championships, three European championships and best of all the 1990 JKA world championships held here in the UK. I was enormously proud to be appointed as the Director of the World championships particular as it was a partnership between the JKA and KUGB.
I was immensely honoured when in 1981 I was invited by Enoeda Sensei to undertake a one to one interview of Nakayama Sensei during his visit to the UK, and, subsequently to be accorded similar opportunities with Sensei Kase, Enoeda and Shirai. I have published the text of these interviews in booklet format and on the website for the benefit of the SKCE members and for those exponents of Shotokan who wish to avoid the conflict created by all the politics still constricting karate.
During this time Enoeda Sensei and I worked together to try and create the spectacle we both wanted our Championships to be. I wanted to take it a lot further but we needed a major sponsor to support us as by then I had managed to get the major TV companies interested. Alas it was just not to be, this was my biggest disappointment over the years.
Around this time my dear brother Mike lost his fight against cancer and my desire to carry on providing help to others began to wane so I relinquished my role in the KUGB but carried on operating my clubs.
However, in 2003 when sadly Enoeda Sensei died, also of cancer, I tried unsuccessfully to broker a solution to resolve the issues this had created between KUGB and what was to become the JKAE. I knew Sensei would not have liked what was happening so I intervened but it was an impossible task. Since the early 70’s there were so many politics that created many Shotokan splinter groups. Such a shame and imagine how enormous and influential the Shotokan group in the UK could have now been were it not for personal agendas, egos and short sightedness of those leaders that led them into continual conflict and strife.
What was and still is needed is one harmonious organisation run by a collaboration of executives with the karate knowledge and business experience. This has always been and will remain on my agenda – the unification of Shotokan karate.
This is why the SKCE does not have the Chief Instructor but a small group of Technical Directors with myself as Chairman which I am very proud to have instigated.
There has been a great deal of hard work and commitment from me, over the years but it has been enormously gratifying to have had been given the opportunity to bring my particular expertise to assist, guide and help develop all three of the organisations I have fortunately been involved with over the past 5 decades.
Joint Technical Director
Sensei Eric Pich - 7th Dan
I started training in 1973 at a local KUGB club in Kingsbury (London) and continued to train there for 15 years twice per week. There were only two classes available there and soon after I started to train with Sensei Enoeda 3 times a week and Sundays in Windsor with Sensei Kanazawa. I became totally smitten.
In 1978 I opened my first dojo in Willesden College of Technology. Soon to follow, in 1981, Kilburn SKC was established. In 1985 I was appointed Chief Instructor to Cambridge University and continued to teach there for 18 years at weekends until 2003. Cambridge won the Varsity Games no less than 17 of those years.
In 2003 Sensei Enoeda died and and I had to relinquish my post due to political reasons. I was then asked to help establish JKA England. For the next 3 years I was asked to coach at Oxford University, which then joined JKA England. During this time Oxford University won 3 consecutive Varsity Games.
In 2010 I resigned from the JKA England committee and Shotokan Karate Centres England (SKCE) was then founded.
My competition career, once I had attained Black Belt in 1978 , spanned over 13 years. The highlight of this was the Sorono Cup in Indonesia 1990, having been sent there, at the ripe old age of 36, by Sensei Enoeda.
With Sensei Tanaka overseeing the event the England team placed 3rd in Kumite. Japan Honbu dojo "A"team, consisting of Sensei Naka and Sensei Izumiya won the event.
I then placed 2nd in the individual Kumite, having sustained two fractured ribs, a torn ankle and only seeing out of one eye, having blocked a jodan punch with my left eye, not a technique I would recommend.
My greatest joy is seeing my students, family and friends attaining Black Belt and to rest in the knowledge that they will continue to practise and teach Shotokan Karate into the future.
Joint Technical Director
Sensei Peter Welsh - 7th Dan
I began my Karate studies in 1975 and have always been heavily involved in one sport or another from a very early age, but two sports I had worked hard at was boxing and Rugby. I remember the Rugby season had finished and I had wanted to maintain my fitness. I’d heard a number of good things about Shotokan and thought I’d give it a try. The local clubs for me were run by the Karate Union of Scotland
I started my training under the direction of Kenny Taylor. The Chief Instructor at that time was Mr Enoeda and his assistant Mr Tomita. After several training sessions, I was totally hooked to such an extent that I gave up Rugby. Later Mr Kawasoe took over as Mr Enoeda’s assistant.
I joined the Metropolitan Police in 1981 and eventually moved my family to London, Work permitting I travelled twice a week to Earls Court to train with Mr Kawasoe. All of the above Instructors were truly inspirational in their teaching and guidance. I am good friends with Kenny and stay in touch with him.
In 1992 I started North London Karate with my Family, Darren and Lynsey assisted in teaching and Isabel dealt with all the paper work and we have gone from strength to strength. Darren is now a full time karate instructor and has worked diligently in the development and expansion of North London.
Sadly in 2003 Mr Enoeda died which left in my opinion a great void in the Karate world. Later that year I was invited to assist in the setting up of JKA England. I resigned from JKA England in 2010 when Shotokan Karate Centres was founded.
The real turning point in my Karate studies was in 1982 whilst walking the beat as uniformed constable in the early hours of the morning in Grays Inn Road. London. When I was confronted with a very angry man who was down on his luck, he wanted to be arrested and didn’t care who he injured in the process all 6’8” of him I felt like a wee boy and I’m 6’2” I remember him coming at me in a rage I hit him as hard as I could, down he went. However that was not the end of it, he just shook his head like a dog and got back on his feet. You can imagine how I felt, standing in a cold and dark street in the early hours of the morning confronted by a madman, I had just hit him with my best shot and he was getting back up. I had called for back up but I knew that would not be here quick enough, unfortunately not like the movies where there is plenty of Police around I was on my own. He came at me again I knew if he laid hands on me I would be in serious trouble I hit him again and down he went. I’ll keep this story short after I had put him down a third time he appeared quite groggy and thankfully I could hear the sirens coming. We handcuffed and arrested him. True story folks. But this was a wake up call for me. I refocused my training developing and evolving my Karate studies.
I have much to be thankful to Karate as it has saved my life more times than I care to remember, In my 32 years of service with the Police I have been attacked with just about everything. Karate does not make you invincible but it gives you the edge, the strength of spirit, awareness and skill when the odds are stacked against you, I’ve had my fair share of injuries which I’m sure would have been far more serious were it not for my studies and training . In fact one night whilst making enquiries at an address the suspect drove a Samurai sword through the letterbox at me. I could recount a number of incidents, but the point I’m trying to get across is albeit Karate develops the mind and body as one, but diligently practiced and studied it could save your life.
Always train hard and outside your comfort zone, constant repetition in order to develop the techniques so they become as natural as breathing. Never rush your practice, breathe correctly during your practise and feel where the power is coming from. Remember Relaxation gives you speed, speed gives you power. This is what I believe
Proudest moment, there have been many in my life. From marrying my wife Isabel, the birth of my children and grandchildren. However in Karate I would say 2004 Japan Tokyo watching my son Darren and daughter Lynsey compete in the JKA world championships.
Joint Technical Director
Sensei Mark Tetsola - 6th Dan - Deceased
Sensei Mark started his karate career as one of Sensei Eric’s very first students as a 16 year old. His development and meteoric rise through the grades to reach 6th Dan status was as you might have expected from someone with his determination and commitment.
More recently Sensei Mark was a major part in the group of 5 Co-Technical Directors who decided to form the Shotokan Karate Centres England as independent organisation.
SKCE has grown and developed enormously in the 5 years since its formation and extremely successful at World and International level which is testament to the considerable contribution Sensei Mark made.
Sensei Mark was ever present at SKCE events and at courses would be driving, cajoling and encouraging students to put that extra energy and determination into their technique whether kumite, kata or basics. Those of you who were fortunate enough to train under him either as one of his regular club members or at an SKCE course will know this only too well. Always demanding the extra mile, but students recognised and appreciated him for the quality instructor he was, and an excellent example of how to adopt hard karate training and still enjoy it.
Joint Technical Director
Sensei Darren Welsh - 6th Dan
I first started karate at the age of 6, in the family dining room with my Dad teaching me Gedan Barai (downward block). I was the typical young student in the class that used to stare at the lights and wave at my parents. I floated between classes in the early years and then something just clicked, I was hooked!
I have been studying Shotokan karate for the past 34 years. It has been a great Journey. I formed North London SKC in 1992 with my Dad, we have continued to grow and develop the club over the years. During my time in the KUGB I had a very successful competition career, winning the southern regions (under 21), 2nd in the Nationals, winning the Enoeda Cup Kata/Kumite at Crystal Palace, to name but a few. I am both proud and honoured that I graded to Sandan under Sensei Enoeda, and to then pass my Yondan in 2003 (aged 25) just after he passed away. He truly was a great and inspiring man.
After the passing of Sensei Enoeda, JKA England was formed. I had the opportunity to train under some of the top karateka in the world, Sensei Osaka, Tanaka, Naka the list goes on. I competed in kata and Kumite for JKA England, travelling around Europe competing in friendly internationals to European and world championships. This was a great time in my karate life; many friendships were made with some great training along the way.
It was during this time I started to look at the other side of karate and started studying karate to improve my knowledge. I qualified as an Instructor, Referee and Examiner under the JKA, this was through sitting various exams at European courses and also at the JKA Honbu in Japan. Sadly I had to resign from JKA England in 2010.
I, alongside the other directors set up SKC England in 2010, sadly Sensei Mark is no longer with us. This was a great challenge as there is quite an age gap between the directors, with me as the youngest. But we sat as equals and thrashed out ideas and values that we wanted to instil into SKCE. I was also involved in the early development of the SKCE Squad, later that year we competed at the SKDUN Worlds in France, I achieved 3rd Place in the men’s Kumite.
I have really enjoyed this new chapter, the association is growing from strength to strength and I take great pride in watching the children and adults develop. I will never get tired of watching the look of achievement on a student’s face when they pass their Shodan, and then the look when I tell them that this is just the beginning.
My proudest moments are watching my three boys come into this world, two are training the other is too young,
Joint Technical Director
Sensei Graham Mercer - 6th Dan
I began training in 1978 at the Hampstead Shotokan Karate Club. I trained regularly for 4 years, grading under Enoeda and Tomita Senseis until the club folded. I then found a local Wado Ryu club and trained with them for a further 4 years but really missed the Shotokan style so I left.
After a number of years, I decided to go back to Shotokan joining Sensei Eric's Kilburn Club in 1990 and I've been here ever since. I attended most courses and gradings held twice a year at Crystal Palace training under many of the JKA Shihankai, predominantly our chief instructor Enoeda Sensei. I passed my Shodan grading in May 1992 and started teaching from there.
My first competition was back in 1982 and I have been competing ever since as I have not taken the good advice to stop! I was SKC England's squad coach until 2016 and I'm immensely proud of our team who have won many regional, national, European and World titles over the years. My own children have attained black belts at different levels and have achieved major international competition success.
This, along with all of SKC England's students accomplishments from a 4 year olds first grading to a student winning a world championship title is what gives me the greatest pleasure. Karate has many philosophies and principles and one of my favourites is "When your temper rises, lower your fists. When your fists rise, lower your temper".
SKCE’s founding instructors
(From left to right: Senseis Mark Tetsola, Peter Welsh, Gerry Grey, Eric Pich and Darren Welsh)