Kilburn Shotokan Karate Club – 30th Anniversary

Over 90 instructors, students and supporters joined Sensei Eric Pich in January to celebrate 30 years of Kilburn Shotokan Karate Club. The anniversary gathering in Muswell Hill, London was a chance to honour both the club’s successful history and Sensei Eric’s long career as senior instructor since founding the club three decades ago.

Sensei Eric opened the first dojo in Granville Road, Kilburn on 14th January 1981 when he was just a 2nd Dan. He had decided to go it alone and open his own club after teaching for three years at Willesden College of Technology. Thirty years later and Kilburn SKC now boasts numerous dojos with a reputation as one of the country’s top karate clubs and Sensei Eric has risen to 5th Dan with over 800 students.

Several original members of the Granville Road dojo came with memories of early training days. Among them was one of Sensei Eric’s first students, Sensei Mark Tetsola, now a 5th Dan instructor himself. He paid tribute to Sensei Eric’s qualities as a leader and teacher and spoke of his positive influence in the lives of young people. Senior students recalled Sensei Eric’s successful tournament days when he earned a formidable reputation as a tough competitor, later fighting just as hard from the side-lines as a vociferous squad coach to help his students win hundreds of trophies over the years.

Sensei Eric taught at Cambridge for 18 years after successfully “auditioning” for the position of club instructor and several former students (such as Ken Hori) joined the celebrations. Another, Ian Brent (5th Dan), paid a musical tribute by singing his own version of ‘If I were A Rich Man’ which told the more colourful side of Sensei Eric’s career. His mix of humour and warm respect summed up the evening.

It was a night to reminisce and catch up with old training partners and friends and reflect on Kilburn SKC’s place in karate’s history. And there was plenty for club members to celebrate. Kilburn SKC has always been at the heart of karate’s development in Britain, first as a prominent club in the KUGB under the leadership of Sensei Enoeda and then as a central player in JKA England. Kilburn SKC has nurtured numerous talented karateka over the decades and members have won countless tournament medals making the club a formidable force on the competition circuit. The club began a new chapter last year as part of the new Shotokan Karate Centres England which is one of a growing number of independent traditional Shotokan Associations.

Club members presented Sensei Eric with an art deco style designer watch in thanks for his dedicated service to both the club and karate.

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