Black belt visitor kick starts new karate club

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COOKSTOWN welcomed one of the British Isles’ top martial artists to the town’s leisure centre on Thursday evening.

Seventh level black belt with the Japanese Karate Federation, Oliver Brunton, dropped into the centre for the launch of the Cookstown branch of the Brunton’s School of Karate Excellence.

Oliver’s karate career started in the early 1960’s, and the intervening half a century has encompassed a series of firsts for the Irish karate ace. He was the first person from this island to become an official with the European Karate Federation, the first to qualify as a referee and technical judge with the World Karate Federation and the first from these isles to be awarded the honour of ‘kyoshi’ or ‘doctor’ with the Japanese Karate Federation (JKF).

His proficiency at pure wado karate and the way he has refined his movements to produce dynamic karate which can produce devastating effect has been recognised by the JKF on many occasions, including when they made him a Technical Examiner in his chosen style of karate. Two years ago Oliver obtained another first when he travelled to Japan to do a rigorous grading examination in front of a board of Japanese masters, resulting in him being unanimously passed to the grade of 7th Dan with the JKF, the first non-Japanese national to be awarded this grade.

Oliver has used his knowledge in the competition arena to bring on many young competitors’ here. Most note worthy is his son James who has won many international championships and holds British and American Open titles

Unlike many other karate instructors, Oliver believes in looking beyond the movements. “Years of intensive study have shown me that teaching the movements is only the beginning of a person’s journey to learn karate technique,” he said. “They need to apply the proper skills to make these movements come to life.”

And it is with this ethos that he has opened up a Northern Ireland Karate-Do Wado-Kai club in Cookstown to make top class tuition available to students here.

Cookstown NIKW club will continue to train at the town’s leisure centre on Thursdays from 8pm. For further information visit or call 078799413202.