Profiles

Sensei John Johnston



He was born in Coventry in 1951.  Being a strong athletic child he was interested in most sports.  He swam and played Water Polo for Coventry, Rugby for Warwickshire Colts and at senior level for Coventry Welsh.
He started Karate when he was twenty years old, influenced by such films as " Our Man Flint " staring James Coburn, and " Manchurian Candidate" staring Frank Sinatra, and similar films of that genre.  Later Kung Fu films including Bruce Lee.
A lot of clubs developed in that era from the impact of these films making them easily accessable.  He had done a little Judo, but it was when he met Rick Jackson that he had his first experiences with Shotokan Karate.
Rick, who has recently returned from Japan, was his first instructor and he was with him for two years.
Mr Johnston excelled at Karate and started teaching at green belt level at Henley College.
His first competition was at the Lacarno Ballroom in 1973 when he was a purple belt.  He entered the individual and the team Kumite.  They were all disqualified because their techniques were to strong
He enjoyed the physical challenge of freestyle Kumite and as he became more experienced, he learned to control his techniques whilst still harnessing power.  This enabled him to compete on a more serious level. 
He became a regular contender in National and Regional competitions and as his experience in the arena grew, so did his level of training in the Dojo.
He often trained at the notoriously well known Long Ford Dojo.  Its there in which the British Squad training took place.  Mr Johnston and his colleagues were allowed the privilege to train along side the squad members, gaining valuable experience and advanced tutorage from such world renown Masters as Enoeda Sensei, Kawazoe Sensei and great instructors as Andy Sherry.
The squad contained such Karate Ka as Terry O'neil, Bob Poynton, Bob Rhodes, Frank Brennan, Steve Cattle and Billy Higgins but to name a few.  It was in 1975 that the British team won the world championships in California after beating the Japanese.
Shortly after this time, Mr Johnston started Door Work at a large top Coventry Night Club, later to become Head Doorman.  This gave him introductions into other security work and was often involved in overt and covert operations protecting high profile business men, TV personalities and recording artists.
He was soon working as a professional Karate instructor teaching at his own clubs, schools and colleges.
It was at this time that he was selected for the Central Region Squad, which was coached by Frank Brennan, British and European Champion.  He was the Captain of the squad for fourteen years before his retirement from competition.
He came out of retirement in 1995 for a one off event in which he represented Coventry at the National Championships.  The team gained third place loosing by just half a point against the winning team.
Mr Johnston has had experiences with other Martial Arts, however continues to teach in the Traditional style of Shotokan.
He believes we must always keep in our training the real meaning of the whole of Karate.  He always teaches students in the correct way of Karate, development of the mind, correct form of the body and insists on the most exacting standards..  He , by example instils in them proper attitudes and discipline.
Traditional Shotokan Karate has an underlying spiritual essence that builds character and inner strength which empowers the mind  and so empowers the body.  It is powerful, deep, diverse and complex.
Mr Johnston is a strong believer in perpetual spiritual, physical self development and advancement.  He still trains regularly with top British instructors and Japanese Masters which enables him to continuously keep the level of his tuition at a very high standard.

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