It is with the greatest of regret we have to announce that Sensei Mark passed away on 22nd July 2014 after a short illness.

Sensei Mark

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 have 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.

Our sympathy and condolences go to his wife Sonia, his sons Carl 3rd Dan, Warren 2nd Dan and daughter Yasmine 2nd Dan and of course his club members.

Sensei Mark was always extremely supportive of the SKCE and particularly with some of the difficult decisions we have had to make during the past 5 years or so.

For my part I just wish that I had known Mark longer and had the opportunity to thank him for all he had done for SKCE but the legacy the work ethic he has left to our Students is ‘hard work is necessary if you want to achieve the best possible results!’ He was simply a great example to us all.

Rest in peace Sensei Mark – we can never replace you as a teacher of great understanding and knowledge, and as a man and a friend. We will not forget what you have given to us all.

God bless to our friend and Oss
Gerry Grey SKCE Chairman,
Co-Technical Directors Sensei Eric Pich,
Sensei Peter Welsh, and, Sensei Darren Welsh.


The funeral of Sensei Mark will be held at 11.00am on Tuesday 19th August 2014 at St Catherine’s Church, Neasden which is on the corner of Dollis Hill Lane, NW10 1QB and Duddon Hill, NW2 7RX.

Those who wish to attend are most welcome at the Church service and the internment at New Willesden Cemetery (details will be given on the day) but the wake will be restricted to family and close friends only. Please note that parking is very restricted in the vicinity.


  1. Hannah, Joshua and Graham Mercer on July 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I first met Sensei Mark back in 1990 at Willesden sports centre. He was a formidable force as an instructor and I was always conscious of giving my best as I knew he would expect nothing less.

    He was a very strict disciplinarian with a bellowing voice and was so very highly respected by his students. I will remember his beaming smile and loud laughter, his words of advice at competitions and the guidance he gave me and the inspiring person that he was.

    There is a huge void in the Karate world that cannot be filled, but we at SKCE are lucky enough to benefit from Sensei Mark’s legacy. Our heartfelt condolences to the Tetsola family. We will miss you dreadfully Sensei Mark…as the driving force of Kilburn and Cats SKC but mostly as a friend, OSS! On behalf of my children and myself, your humble students

    Hannah, Joshua and Graham Mercer.

  2. Jenny (Student, Willesden) on July 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    My sincere and deepest condolences to the Tetsola Family.

    I was personally shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of such a great man!

    I am grateful to have known Sensei Mark and honoured to have been one of his students. Sensei Mark, was a perfectionist and an extremely tough task master! He also allowed you to develop at your own speed, improving your weakness and playing to your strength – he reminded us that we are always a work in progress and we can all improve. He taught me to believe in myself and never give up and keep your spirit strong!

    Sensei Mark has been taken – but his spirit will live on in each and every one of us who knew him! Always!

    RIP Sensei Mark, we will miss you and never forget you.

  3. Celine, Eleanor and Aurele Tobelem on July 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    It is with great sadness and shock that we learned the news of the passing of Sensei Mark.
    As fairly new but regular members of Willesden, we knew that Sundays usually meant we would have our second part of the class with Sensei Mark. It was both exciting and scary at times. When he said ‘Line up’ you already knew you’d have to be your best.
    I most surely remember his last class and the individual words he told us : in his opinion, I was the perfectionist, my daughter the one who needed to slow down and my son the one who needed more focus. He also said something about us all -students- being like a big family, which we fully understood last week.
    On Thursday, Sensei Carl gave us the most emotional and commendable lesson of life : he put on a brave face and gave us all an idea of the values taught by his father : he showed courage, determination, and self control under tragic circumstances, his Dad would have been so proud. Never in my life had I paid my respect to a great man this way, and it felt like a bit of heaven had joined us in the dojo.
    All our thoughts go to the whole Tetsola family, and especially to his wife and children, for they have obviously lost a great husband, a great father.
    As for us, we will never again enter a dojo without thinking of Sensei Mark. He was the kind of man you regret to have known so little and whose words you remember for a lifetime.
    Very sincerely and respectfully,
    Celine, Eleanor and Aurele Tobelem

  4. Ollie, Emma and Sian Hood on July 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    We were so shocked and saddened to learn that Sensei Mark had passed away. He was always so positive and full of life that we truly thought he was invincible.

    I remember my first national competition as a 2nd kyu in Portsmouth. In the Sanbon Kumite I had been punched in the finals by my opponent’s counter and promptly after the event I was rushed to the first aid area. After checking I was OK, Sensei Mark took me over to the tatami where the boys jiyu kumite was starting out. Sensei Mark coached me throughout every fight until I won. From that day he always had my trust and respect – Ollie

    We have great respect for all our sensei, but the Tetsola class at Willesden is always original. Walking through that door meant handing over your trust to Sensei Mark – and accepting that you would be extended well beyond your comfort zone. He never asked you to do something he wasn’t sure you were capable of – giving less than 100% was never an option. In return you achieved more than you could have imagined. Lessons learned extended beyond karate as you applied the dojo code to everyday life.

    Sensei Mark was a formidable figure, silence ensued when he entered on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, his presence demanded respect as he well deserved. He was always proud of his students and you felt he invested in you, and this made you work to the best of your ability because you wanted to do him proud. If you missed a class he knew, birthday sessions became a terror/ritual few escaped. He is a strong presence that will be sorely missed, but I hope that we can do him proud in every way possible – Emma

    We offer special condolences to his family, to Carl, Warren and especially Yasmine with whom Emma and Ollie have spent much loud laughter, teasing, banter and the inevitable wait for the Tetsola men to exit the changing room!

    He was a good man, and we are truly blessed to have the honour of training and competing with him as our sensei, and our many fond memories will ensure his spirit will be with us always, in and out of the dojo.

  5. Taiga on August 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Sensei Mark was nothing short of a legend. He may have left this world but he left behind his memories and wisdom that will spawn many successors to his great legacy.

    He would push everybody to their limits and ask for nothing more or less than 100% to get the best results out of all of us. I remember being a yellow belt and, one Tuesday, he taught the entire class (including myself) the black belt kata “Jiin” (which Sensei Graham told me off for performing when he asked for my favourite kata)! The most important thing Sensei Mark has done for me is giving me confidence; he is the reason I am not afraid to fight with black belts double my age. His lessons had the perfect balance between discipline and enjoyment thanks to his wonderful and powerful personality. It is a shame that I only started karate last year so I haven’t known him for as long as I would have liked to.

    Oss, Sensei! Thank you for everything! Jiin will forever be my favourite kata and I will live by the most memorable quote you have given me: “better yourself; climb the vertical wall laced with barbed wire and oil”. My prayers go out to your family, friends, colleagues and students. You may be gone physically but you will live on in the minds of those who had the pleasure to meet you. Your legacy will continue! Oss!

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