Instructor Profile: Chris Grice 1st Dan


Born on the Wirral in the year dot, well actually 2nd March 1962, Chris ended up in Harrogate where his family still live. At the tender age of 18, in late1980 he started Shukokai karate under the tutelage of Sensei Ken Gee. This just less than one year as he had to pack his bags and head off to college in the glorious surroundings of the Lake District, unfortunately there was nowhere to carry on with his karate.

This was followed by an entertaining spell in the Army ending up in the Highlands near Inverness. At this point he decided that it was a foresters life for him, so off to college, again! to study something interesting this time.

4 years and two children (Naomi and Fraser) later we moved to Argyll to manage a bit of woodland, well quite a lot really. It was here that Fraser, by now all of 7 years old started to study Karate (kyokushinkai), this got the old man thinking about those lost years of opportunity, a knee injury playing that most dangerous of games, cricket!! put paid to any idea of a triumphant return.

A career move to York in 2005 led to Fraser joining the Kenshinkan Karate Club whose chief instructor was Sensei Rob McCartney, after a while and many hours of watching and waiting whilst junior was training, Dad took the plunge and put on the Karate Gi again. Actually it was a new one as the old one had rather bizarrely shrunk over the intervening years. The goal was to gain Shodan (Black Belt 1st Dan) by the time he reached the grand old age of 50. Getting there would be a challenge, dedication, hard work and commitment, not to mention competition success at the KUGB Kyu Grade Championships made for an interesting journey. Thanks to some excellent teaching, his Shodan was attained in 2009.

Having gained Shodan, Chris soon became recognised as one of the clubs Senpais (senior grade/ junior instructor) and the next challenge was being asked to take on some instruction duties, a task undertaken with some trepidation but one that he finds thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable. Chris has commented that it is very satisfying to see someone develop into an accomplished karateka and a privilege to be a part of that development.

What does the future hold for Chris? “If I can stop falling off my mountain bike whilst trying to keep up with Fraser and failing body parts permitting the next big challenge is to aim for Nidan!!! Well we can all dream.”



Instructor Profile: Ian Seavers 1st Dan


Ian has lived in York for all of his life , since arriving into the world on 4th October 1963.

His first experience of martial arts was with some friends at Rowntree’s Judo club, in the small factory gym. After a year or so the interest wavered and he moved onto other things. After watching most of Bruce Lee’s films the next phase, whilst at Huntington Secondary school, was Kung Fu.

Still at school he began to take an interest in badminton. He played in the York and District league, division 1 and 2, mens and mixed doubles. He also played several Yorkshire League matches. It was at a badminton club that he met his wife to be, Hilary. Badminton continued to play a large part in both of their lives until the family arrived.

With a young family it became apparent that they could not both continue to play badminton at this level………back to martial arts!

A work colleague, taking his black belt, invited Ian to his club - Taikwondo, this time. Yet another different coloured suit and various belts followed, until the club folded in York and travelling further afield was not an option. After joining a local gym Ian started kickboxing.

Fast forward to 2007 when he took both children, Abbie and Callum, to an after school karate club at Stockton on the Forest Primary School. After sitting and watching for many hours on Saturday mornings, he decided to take the plunge and have a go. Ian then went along to the Kenshinkan Karate Club, where the chief instructor at the time was Sensei Rob McCartney.

 After almost three years of training Ian achieved his Shodan (Black Belt 1st Dan) on 30th May 2010 in Kendal. Ian is now one of York Elite’s Senpais (Senior Grade/ Junior Instructor) and is concentrating on the teaching challenge as well as aiming for his Nidan (2nd Dan).






Instructor Profile: Gary Fentiman  1st Dan


Gary was born in York in 1975 and has lived here ever since. He now works as a Planning Engineer for Yorkon starting Karate at the age of about 15 after watching the Karate Kid film and thinking that that looked like good fun. Both he and his younger brother started at the same time and they seemed to be in competition with each other from that day. Gary took the lead with a double grading on the first belt and stayed a grade in front from then on. Gary managed to keep the interest all the way up to gaining his 2nd Kyu ( brown/one white stripe ), at which point he had just left school and other activities seemed to take all his free time and interest and unfortunately karate suffered to the extent Garry stopped training.  


Some years later once married with his own children Gary was trying to find an outlet for the mass amount of energy that his eldest boy seemed to have, he stumbled across a local Karate club which was one of the few activities that would let him participate at the age of 6. Gary took him to the first few sessions where he was a bit nervous always on the end of the line and constantly checking that dad was still there, but after a few weeks he had made friends and was loving it to the extent of trying to teach his younger brother at home.  


After talking to the instructor at the time, he found out that Gary used to train when he was younger and tried to talk him in to coming back which he kept putting off, but slowly Gary and some other fathers got fed up of just sat on the side and agreed to start once the kids had got there red belt. The next lesson after the grading they were all handed a brand new Gi, belt and mitts and promptly reminded of the promise that they had made. Gary soon got “back into it” and promptly gained his Shodan (1st Dan Blackbelt) in 2011 He said I must admit that even though I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning, I soon got back into it. I now really enjoy training and teaching with the rewards of seeing the people that you've been teaching achieving their new grades and belts from the orange all the way up to the new black belts.”  


Gary now trains and teaches regularly and has even competed on a regular basis, with both his children enjoying the sport side too, his children have learnt the discipline and also really enjoy exercise which is a result in today's world of computer games!





Instructor Profile: Niall McCreanor 2nd Dan

Niall profileBorn in Belfast and hailing from Downpatrick Co.Down, Niall was involved in a number of team sports throughout his schooldays notably Gaelic Football where he represented Co.Down at underage levels. Niall continued to play Gaelic when he ventured across the water to Manchester to attend University between 1983-1986 and has the "honour" of holding a Great Britain U-21 Championship Medal playing for Lancashire.


Niall stayed in England after graduating as a Civil Engineer to work in construction and mainly due to work and travel commitments drifted away from active sports other than an occassional game of golf or trip to the gym.


Having had little knowledge or experience of martial arts other than a dabble in Judo while at school, Niall's interest was stimulated in 2008 when his 7 year old twins started to practice Karate in an after school club. After a bit of persuasion from other parents and his own kids he decided to attend a few classes and within a short space of time was hooked. He says: "I can't think of many sports where you can start as a parent in your 40's and can fully participate and progress your skills and expertise alongside your kids. The benefits Karate has brought me are many and varied and include fitness, flexibility, conditioning, as well as an opportunity to meet some great people; and even better - it's fun!


Under Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan KUGB, Niall achieved his Shodan in 2012 and his Nidan in 2015 which he feels counts one of the proudest moments of his life. Niall continues to explore his passion for karate through training and instructing and gets great enjoyment in developing his own knowledge and skills and particularly in seeing the progress of the junior club members through their grades.


Niall's goal is to continue to train hard, study the wider aspects of karate and support the continuing growth of Shotokan Karate within York Elite and the KUGB.


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