Club History - By Sensei Mark Price
Our club was founded in 2002 by Sensei Mark Price. Mark has a long track record in a variety of martial arts over more than 30 years.
Although Mark is no longer actively involved in the day to day running of the club, we caught up with him to ask how the club came to be formed and what styles influenced the syllabus as we teach it today
In what started out as a hobby and ended up spanning 30 years, I started training in Martial arts (karate) at the age of 12.
I quickly found that the techniques were very effective and was bitten by the bug. This encouraged me to look at other martial arts and lead me towards Chinese based arts as I felt drawn to the more free flowing side of the arts.
My luck was in when I chanced on a local Fu-Jow-Pai club run by my late Sifu, mentor and friend Burt Conroy.
I was struck by his enthusiasm to incorporate and adapt new techniques into the system he was teaching. Burt’s ethos stuck with me throughout my martial arts career as this was the basis on which I started my own clubs along with fellow martial artist and childhood friend Paul Swift.
Like a kid in sweet shop I eagerly continued pursuing other martial arts whilst training 3 times week with Burt. My endeavours lead me to meet and train with the ever influential Dave Hodgson (Karate & Ju-Jitsu) who deserves a special mention.
It would be rude not to name just a few more influential instructors which include;
· Dave Hodgson – Karate and Ju-Jitsu - 7th Dan
· Bob Clarke – Ju-Jitsu Master - 9th Dan and founder of World Ju-Jitsu Federation
· Andy Wilshaw – Ju-Jitsu 6th Dan
· Sifu Fearnley - Tai Chi
· Daryl Grundy – Jeet Kune Do & Catch as catch can wrestling
· Jack Hogan – Kyusho karate. 10th Dan in Ryukyu Kempo Karate and 5th Dan in Shotokan Karate
· Leon Jay – Small Circle Ju-Jitsu - Grandmaster
All this training from some very worthy and skilled people, along with attending an abundance of world class seminars, competitions and courses which were tailored to expanding the mind, body and soul made me feel like I had fulfilled my passion in life.
It was around then that my good friend Paul announced his retirement from martial arts and the clubs we had built up over the years. This forced me to re-think and see how to improve and move the club forward and thus HKJ was born.
Although the pursuit of furthering my professional career seems to have taken over my life I still keep an eye on the club from afar with the occasional visit. I keep in touch with current head coach Steve Blears who carries on the ethos of the club and knows I am always on hand for help, advise, support and share any thoughts on the future development of the club.
If I can impart a little advice to anyone starting out on their martial arts journey gained from my 30 years’ experience of practicing, it would be to keep at it until you find the right martial art for you.
“It is not the man that chooses the martial art, but the martial art that chooses the man”!
Founder - HKJ Combined Martial Arts