Kyu GRADING Examiner
Simon Shepherd Sensei
Simon Shepherd is the chief kyu grading examiner for all kyu gradings up to and including 1st Kyu and so is a familiar face here at DOEJAP.
Simon is also the original founder of DOEJAP and was the chief instructor at DOEJAP for 8 years until he unfortunately had to retire from active instructing in December 2019 due to medical reasons.
Simon first started his karate career in Manchester, aged 6, back in 1978....ish. He originally started his karate with Shukokai Karate Union (SKU) and received his Shodan a few years after that. Simon then moved from Shukokai to Shotokan karate, training across Manchester for many years at various clubs.
At the age of 18 years old, Simon completed his Nidan grading. He then went to Manchester University and joined the infamous Manchester University Shotokan Karate club, under the tutelage of Sensei Gary Hartford 8th Dan and, of course, became a member of the KUGB.
After graduation, Simon moved to Liverpool where he spent, until very recently, his time training at Liverpool’s world-famous Red Triangle Karate Club, under senseis Andy Sherry 9th Dan, Bob Poynton 8th Dan and Frank Brennan 8th Dan. The Red Triangle is one of the greatest Shotokan karate clubs in the world and arguably the birthplace of Shotokan Karate in the UK.
During his time in Liverpool, Simon was privileged to be one of the senior instructors at Liverpool University's Shotokan Karate Club. Whilst there Simon coached the club through many victories at regional, national and international levels.
After moving away from Liverpool, Simon was also honoured to be invited to teach at Eton College, where he successfully took many of the students to national and international karate championship success.
He eventually ended up living close to Cheltenham and desperately searched for a karate club that embodied the qualities and traditions of the Red Triangle. Simon stumbled into Cheltenham Karate and, on the retirement of the instructor, founded what is now DOEJAP and before too long affiliated DOEJAP to the World Traditional Karate Organisation (WTKO) and then to HDKI GB.
In December 2017, Simon gained his Sandan black-belt grade, after a hiatus of over 20 years since his last grading. Simon graded under a senior black-belt panel headed by Scott Langley 6th Dan. In 2018 Simon was awarded his D Class examiner's qualification and also his B class international referee / judge qualification.
Simon finally retired from Instructing in December 2019 but can be seen popping in on a regular basis to ensure that the foundations of his legacy remain true and that the standards are being maintained.
Because we're part of an association with very senior and experienced international instructors, we regularly have visiting senior instructors at DOEJAP. The regular visiting instructors are listed below and details will be published in the NEWS when they are next due a visit.
Scott Langley, 6th Dan
Scott has been practising martial arts since the age of 5, however, he started his karate career proper in 1986 under the instruction of Howard Milson, a senior member of Kodokai and one of the very few 5th dans in the UK at the time. Scott trained hard with Howard and Kato Sensei and gained shodan in 1992. After travelling to Japan with Kato Sensei in 1993, Scott started studying at a
university in Staffordshire were he trained on a daily basis with him, after which Scott decided to pursue a full-time career in karate.
During this time Scott assisted Kato Sensei teaching around the UK and Europe. Scott competed regularly; winning, both in kata and kumite, the National Championships five times, European Championships three times, and the 1996 JKA World Championships in Moscow.
Building on this success, Scott once more travelled to Japan in 1997 in order to train full-time at the JKA (Asai fraction) Hombu dojo.
Under constant pressure from the instruction of Asai, Abe, Yahara, Kagawa, Isaka, Yamaguchi etc, Scott was allowed to join the instructor’s course in 1998.
Two intensive years later, Scott graduated from the course and became the fifth non-Japanese person ever to do so.
From 2002 until 2013 Scott was the Technical Director and Chief Instructor of JKS Ireland’s Hombu Dojo.
In that time the group grew from 4 clubs to 120 clubs, making it the biggest single style group in the British Isles. His own club also grew from the initial 8 members that showed up on the first night, to over 500 members and four full-time instructors.
Scott is the author of Karate Stupid and Karate Clever.
Scott is the founding member of Hombu Dojo Karate International (HDKI)
Simon Bligh, 5th Dan
Simon Bligh was born in 1960 and has been training in Shotokan Karate since 1974, where he started in his hometown of Liverpool. After relocating to London, he spent many years as a member of Enoeda Sensei`s famous Marshall St Dojo. In 1990-1991 he spent a year living and working in Japan as a TEFL teacher as well as undertaking karate training at the JKA Hombu Dojo in Tokyo.
In 2004 he joined JKS. Simon has a wealth of experience in Shotokan Karate and he firmly believes in "Karate for everyone, for all your life".
Simon is also a full-time comedian. He is now Technical Director of HDKI Great Britain.
Rick Hotton, 5th Dan
Rick Sensei started training in 1970 at the West Wind Dojo in Florida.
In 1976 he inherited the dojo and since then has remained its instructor.
Originally a member of the USKA, Rick Sensei moved to Richard Kim’s group in 1989 and since that time has endeavoured to train and learn from as many instructors as possible. He is also a long-time student of Matsugi Saotome Sensei, who is considered to be one of the best Aikido masters in the world today.
In 2014 Rick posted his first video on YouTube, bringing his unique insight of our art to the wider world. He immediately became an internet sensation and his videos have since had in access of 2 million views. He now travels the world teaching karate seminars far and wide.