Daniel Hart, 3rd Dan – Colchester, England
Daniel started karate when he was 12 years old. He joined Colchester Shotokan Karate under the instruction of Sensei Lawerence Klein. At the time he joined karate, kids from his school were doing karate and getting lots of trophies from competitions.
"I wanted to win competitions like them. Of course, I quickly learned that karate isn't about the trophies and that it was much more important to be a good practitioner of karate. I have always focused on the self defence side of karate."
In 2009, he passed his Shodan under Sensei Mick Billman from the English Karate Federation.
"I remember it being a very intense grading and being completely drained of energy when we finished."
Not long after achieving his black belt, his instructor Sensei Klein handed the club over to Sensei Denis Dixon. Sensei Dixon was instrumental in the Colcester club joining the IKD. Sensei Dixon is friends with IKD President, Sensei David Clarke.
"Joining the IKD was a real eye opener. Sensei Clarke would visit the club several times a year and I started to learn more about correct hip application and bunkai."
In 2012, Daniel graded under Sensei Clarke and was awarded 2nd dan.
"This was an interesting grading as this was the first time I was asked to perform bunkai as part of a grading. I particularly liked this, as I could tell that Sensei Clarke and the IKD believed dan grades should not only be technically good but should also have knowledge and understanding. From this I have gone on to explore a lot more bunkai and feel that this is the best way to progress in karate."
In 2013, he travelled, along with Sensei Dixon, to Canada for their first IKD World Camp at Camp White Pine in Haliburton, Ontario.
"This was also the first time I had ever been on a plane."
Later that year Sensei Dixon was offered a new job in Canada and passed the club in Colchester over to Daniel.
In 2014 he returned to the IKD World Camp in Ontario. This time with Sensei Mark Skinner, Sensei Nigel Shawcross and Gill Drew-Griffiths.
"This time I took part in the camp tournament and was very happy to be awarded a silver medal in kumite and kata."
In 2015, Daniel and Sensei Mark Skinner travelled to Canada for the IKD World Cup in Toronto.
"Unfortunately we did not win any medals that year but it was an unforgettable experience. We got to catch up with many of our IKD friends from the pervious years as well as meeting many new ones. The competition was incredible. Mark and I had a great time exploring Toronto too."
At the end of 2016, he stepped down as head instructor at Colchester Shotokan Karate and asked Sensei Mark Skinner to take his place at the front of the club. This was due to have other commitments outside of the club that meant he couldn't give the club the attention it deserved.
"Sensei Skinner is an excellent instructor that gives the club 100% of his time and effort. I still train with the club every week and regularly teach classes."
At the beginning of this year, Daniel graded under Sensei Clarke and was awarded his 3rd dan.
"I was unsure about grading this time as I felt i wasn't ready. After encouragement from several people that thought I was over due to grade, I agreed and afterwards felt that I had performed a strong grading."
Outside of karate, Daniel has been very busy this year. He started a new job at Coca Cola as an Operator Technician in June. On the 13th of September, He became engaged to his fiancé Ashlea Hugh, proposing to her on a beach in Furteventura. They do not have a wedding date yet but are very excited for the big day. The couple have also just brought a house together and are looking forward to moving in shortly. Although Daniel's life outside of karate is very busy at the moment, he is still training and hoping to be at the 2018 IKD World Cup in Barbados.