Andy Gillies


My interest in martial arts began in the late 1970’s when I watched with great interest a late night cinema showing of 5 martial arts movies – 2 of which were King Boxer (aka 5 fingers of death) and one that made a lasting impression... Enter the Dragon. I recall I watched in awe as the villains were dispatched efficiently with strange strikes and kicks and noises.


Being eager to learn more about this new and mysterious art during the years to follow, I tried my hand - no pun intended to those who know me! - in various styles, tutored by various instructors.


In the March of 1986 I finally found a club that suited my body style and as it turned out only 5 minutes walk from where I lived! I began training with the Traditional Association of Shotokan Karate under the tutelage of Sensei Andy Kidby (at that time Nidan grade). I graded to 3rd kyu in 1988 under chief instructor Sensei John Van Weenen (then Godan) In the year that followed family relocation and work commitments dictated I could not train as regularly as I wished to enable me to grade. I chose to train and not to grade because I could not maintain a regular dojo training pattern. When I had the opportunity to return to regular training, I found a local Shotokan club and regraded to 3rd kyu, 2nd kyu ho, 2nd kyu,1st Kyu ho then 1st kyu (under Minakami Bushido Kai)


I returned to Sensei Kidby's tutelage with CFTS and I attained the grade of Shodan in 2007 followed by Nidan in 2009 and Sandan in 2012.


I believe, no matter what grade you hold, regular appraisal and feedback from a sensei is important to help improve a student’s karate. As a karateka I still have much to learn and enjoy researching traditional forms of kobudo in my spare time.