Ashington Karate Club Instructor Profile

Sensei Ian Willis, 6th Dan

Sensei Ian Willis was born 11th February 1959, in Morpeth, Northumberland. Having allegedly taken up karate after his boxing coach deemed his hair too long for the ring, and threatened to act as hairdresser, Ian started out studying Wado Ryu. He changed to Shotokan in 1978 and he attained his 6th Dan in the KUGB in 2013. In all, Ian has now been training for 34 years. 

Sensei Iancompeted Nationally and Internationally for many years and was a member of the Northern Region Squad for ten years. He fought for them on many occasions - most notably perhaps at the IKA European Championships in Sardinia two years running, where he gained a 2nd place and a 3rd place in Kumite. His competition career spanned 18 years. 

Although now retired from competition, Sensei Ian still enjoys attending courses whenever he can, with the aim of keeping abreast of current development, and therefore maintaining his karate. He has attended the residential summer course at Lancaster for the past 29 years 

In 1994, after 18 years working as a welder at Ellington Colliery, Ian was made redundant. He saw this as the ideal opportunity to pursue a life-long goal - he decided to become a professional karate instructor. He currently has four clubs in Northumberland; Ashington, Ponteland, Alnwick and Morpeth, and also teaches at schools around Northumberland. At any one time he has around 200 students. Many of his students have been very successful at regional, national and international levels. 

Sensei Ian Willis’ aim now is to pass his karate knowledge on to his students, and to help them gain national and international honours.  Ian first started instructing at Ashington Karate Club in 1981, and now, after many years of instructing - 22 of those as a professional - he says he can think of no other job he would rather do.

Sensei Ian considers his greatest achievement to be attaining his 6th Dan.  He trained without compromise and was totally focussed on the task in hand.

Quote: "I feel that karate has provided me with fantastic opportunities and I have met some amazing people over the years.  The senior instructors have been a great inspiration in my life, not just my karate".

Sensei Ian teaches at Ashington on Tuesdays. He also has clubs in Alnwick, Ponteland and Morpeth as part of Northumberland Karate Academy. For more information on NKA, visit their website here:

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