About Kyushindo Instructors

All Kyushindo instructors have undergone checks to ensure that they have the necessary technical skills (this is done through our structured grading process up to 3rd Dan black belt level) and that they can keep you and your children safe while you are learning karate or judo (we want to avoid putting anyone at unnecessary risk of harm). Here is what we do to make sure that all of the instructors are ready to teach:

  • Potential instructors must be referred by an existing senior instructor once they have demonstrated a good technical competence. This makes sure that not only are we going to get the ‘right calibre’ of instructor, but also checks that the person has already carried out some teaching under the guidance of an existing instructor.
  • We ask all new instructors to provide a character reference from somebody outside of Kyushindo. This allows us to be sure that we are providing you with the very best instructors who have demonstrated that what we have seen within lessons is their character outside as well.
  • Each instructor has their own civil liability insurance policy, which ensures that if something does happen, you’re covered!
  • Every instructor has an Enhanced Check carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service. Like a teacher in any school, this ensures that we check that all our instructors have no ‘skeletons in the closet’ that would give concern when they are left responsible for looking after children or vulnerable adults.
  • All instructors, irrespective of their grade, are required to attend regular training sessions themselves, have a first aid qualification and undergo child protection training recognised by the NSPCC. This ensures that they are up to date with the latest legislation with respect to martial arts, H&S and child protection issues. We actively promote that all our instructors continuously develop themselves.

All of our instructors also meet regularly to improve how we teach and how we deliver techniques in classes. Area Coaches regularly visit clubs and observe instructors teaching to give tips and guidance to students and instructors alike. This allows us to not only make sure that we are thinking about your safety but also your learning!

Garry Strange, Vice President & Berkshire Area Coach, 5th Dan

Gary StrangeA Chartered Civil Engineer by profession, Garry is married with a family. He took up Kyushindo in 1983 at age 9, studying both karate and judo, under Mike James. After trying several different martial arts and styles, Garry returned to Kyushindo where the ethos appealed to him more. Garry now acts in the role of Vice President, overseeing the overall running of Kyushindo, the instructors and its policies and clubs.
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“I focus on teaching the karate and the self protection aspects of the style, running the Reading Area clubs. I want to pass on the skills and knowledge I have learnt and demonstrate the benefits and enjoyment that a Martial art can bring. There are a lot of misconceptions about Martial Arts and Self Defence around. My approach is one of avoiding confrontation but, if it is necessary to use force, by keeping things simple and effective. Through the natural movement of the Kyushindo style, our style appeals to a wider audience.”

Norman West, Buckinghamshire Area Coach, 7th Dan

Norman started training in Kyushindo in 1974 at the St Michaels St dojo in Oxford. During his training he developed a love of Kyushindo, especially the movement, spirit, teaching and the humbleness of the style. Norman started his training with Mr Mayo and Derek Collins and learned to use the principles being taught through the Kyushindo to be to his liking. As a former chairman of Kyushindo, Norman has a huge influence on the style now. He now heads up the Buckinghamshire area where he runs his club in Stokenchurch.

“I aim to continue training and teaching for as long as I can focussing on those principles of Kyushindo that I hold so dear.”

Ray Woodhouse, Oxfordshire Area Coach, 6th Dan

From an early age Ray always had a strong interest in participating in a variety of sports particularly rugby, running and boxing. Ray took up Kyushindo in 1973 under the instruction of Derek Collins gaining his Karate Black Belt in 1977 and 4th Dan in 1988. Realising the potential of Kyushindo Judo, Ray incorporated this into his training and gained his Judo Black Belt in 1986. Ray was fortunate to have been awarded these grades by both Derek Collins and the style founder, George Mayo. The meaning of Kyushindo is “to seek the perfect way in everything you do” it’s Ray’s belief that this philosophy has had a bearing on his career where he is a Director of three Transport Companies.

“As the Area Coach, my aim is to ensure uniformity of teaching the Kyushindo Syllabus throughout all clubs while passing on the technique and knowledge I have been fortunate to have gained over the last 40 years”

Paul Clayson, Judo Area Coach, 4th Dan (Judo), 2nd Dan (Karate)

Paul started training in both the Karate and Judo in 1985 with Mike James, although he now concentrates on the Judo side of Kyushindo. He is the Senior Instructor at Didcot Kyushindo Judo Club.

“To run a mixed club for both juniors and adults of any ability. Not having a “natural ability” with martial arts myself, I aim to help all students improve at their own pace.

Tony Hulbert, Senior Instructor, 6th Dan

Tony HulbertTony has been in the car building industry in Oxford for 30 years. During that time, Tony has always had an interest in Martial arts. As early as 1968 he had begun training in Judo which was followed by training in a variety of other arts and styles. However Kyushindo always drew Tony back and by 1980 he had settled on this form of Judo and Karate. He is now the principle instructor at Oxford Academy where his team pass on their massive experience to the students.

“I simply wish to further the progress of my students and instructors to the best of my ability and to continue being a guardian of the Kyushindo system. I spread knowledge of the Art of Kyushindo not only for the life saving physical skills it has to offer, but also the mental discipline and confidence it can bring. New trainees are always very welcome at the Academy where I strive to give them a great introduction to this martial art system. I look forward to meeting you…”

Chris Bothwell, Instructor, 3rd Dan

Chris started his martial arts training in 1993 at the tender age of 13, and has never looked back! After training for 8 years in Wado Ryu Karate, Chris took up Kyushindo in 2001 under Garry Strange’s tutelage, obtaining his black belt in 2003. Chris has also spent time training in Shotokan Karate, Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan.

When he’s not training in Martial Arts, Chris works for Waitrose, plays the bassoon or indulges in amateur dramatics.

“I love the philosophy behind Kyushindo – it teaches us to use speed, skill and sensitivity, all built up through good honest training and discipline, to overcome aggression and violence. It’s good fun, too!”

Matt Hills, Instructor, 4th Dan

Matt HillsMatt has based his career on helping children and young people, being a self-employed child minder and a part time youth worker. He started formal training in Judo in 1992 and then began training in Kyushindo Karate with Tony Hulbert in 2004, at Oxford Academy. He still trains with Tony and also now runs the Saturday Children’s Class

“I am currently training hard to achieve my 3rd Dan black belt, my next goal. I take great pleasure introducing new starters into this wonderful martial art and welcome juniors to my Saturday Class. The more that I can demonstrate to our young people the benefits of Kyushindo the happier I shall be”


Laura Gilbert, Instructor, 3rd Dan (Judo), Black Belt (Karate)

Laura GilbertLaura started training under Mike James in 1990 at the age of six after following her brother into Judo. Since that day, Laura has never looked back. One of few women to attain black belts in two Kyushindo disciplines she is now a 2nd Dan instructor in Judo with a black belt in Karate. Laura instructs at the Abingdon Club and hopes to start branching out into other local clubs soon.

“I want to get the best out of all my pupils in every aspect of Judo. I expect my pupils to understand the meaning of respect for others whilst making training fun but effective.”

Justin Evans, Instructor, 3rd Dan

Justin Evans Assistant Instructor 1st DanJustin is a lecturer at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, teaching Construction to a range of students from 14 to 65 years old. He began training in 1984 as a Junior, reaching green belt by 1987. After time away from martial arts Justin re- joined again in 2009 encouraged by Kevin Arblaster whom he now regularly assists in South Abingdon.

“This is a style that promotes many values now considered outdated such as being supportive of families and encouraging people to achieve their best! In my view they are not and I just wish to pass on my knowledge to others and give back to society what I have been given!”

Darren Neville, Instructor, 3rd Dan

Darren NevilleDarren is a Mechanical Engineer and has been training in Martial Arts since the early 1980s; Shotakan Karate and Kyushindo. He re-joined Kyushindo Karate in 2003 with his daughter who is now a junior black belt Instructor. Darren splits his training between Abingdon and South Abingdon and runs his own club at the Faringdon Leisure Centre on a Tuesday evenings.

“I really enjoy teaching, seeing my daughter’s confidence increase over the years and participating in something we both enjoy.”