James Kidby

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

I found Karate very much by chance. Neither of my parents were in any way interested in any form of exercise, in fact they had always encouraged me to follow their love of music. I persevered for some time with trying to learn to play the organ and flute however neither particularly appealed to me.

Seriously though it was at the age of nine that I asked my Dad (Sensei Kidby ) if I could begin Karate as a friend of mine had just started. Apprehensive due to the aggressive reputation of Karate my parents allowed me to start. Although I found it difficult due to the physical nature of the art I was soon to find myself hooked. On 28 th June 1987 I over came my nerves and successfully obtained 10th Kyu.


My training commenced under TASK, (Traditional Association of Shotokan Karate). The chief instructor was and still is Sensei John Van Weenen. I steadily progressed up the kyu grades, never managing to over come my nerves at gradings. I remember one instance as a nervous ten year old sitting down praying and waiting for my name to be called.


I was proud to obtain 1st Kyu with TASK on 6th June 1993. It was just over two years later on 28th October 1995 under the newly formed CFTS that I obtained my shodan. I can honestly say that achieving shodan was one of my proudest moments and was a culmination of many years of hard work.



It was under CFTS that I got my first taste of teaching. Still being of a nervous disposition I was to find this very stressfulm but rewarding at the same time. Initially I helped out taking the odd lesson. Then in 1996, Sensei Liam O'reilly and myself took over our own club in Wolverton (Monday nights 7.30 - 9ish depending on the caretaker).


In 1998 I successfully achieved Nidan going on to become Sandan in October 2003. Having held an EKGB national coaching award for several years I considered this grading to be confirmation of my status as an instructor.


I continue to enjoy all elements of Karate particularly competitions and more recently the instructing, although it was never my ambition to become an instructor. I find it very rewarding now to be able to put something back into Karate and see my students develop.


In the years to come I hope to continue to progress as a student and as an instructor and who knows I may again take up playing the flute and organ once I am too old and infirm to continue with my karate!