SHOGUN Ian Kirk first became interested in the martial arts with the arrival of Bruce Lee movies in the early 70’s.
While studying to become a mechanical engineer at RGIT in Aberdeen, Ian came across an advert in the university ‘rag’ for a Shotokan karate school. It was here he met Ronnie Watt and began to discover the art of Karate-do. Ian remembers the enthusiasm from students at the time was immense, they even attended training sessions during lunchtimes. Weekends would often involve smashing up an old ruined cottage somewhere, using bare hands & feet and of course Christmas Day training on the beach every year was a must. No comforts were allowed for the hardened karateka!
Karate was a relatively unknown entity in the UK at the time and everyone looked to the Japanese for guidance, who were naturally seen to be the hereditary guardians and masters in the field. Many of these Japanese masters would arrive in the UK for specialist courses often attended by several hundreds and sometimes thousands of students at each venue the length and breadth of the UK. These Japanese masters were treated like superstars. Ian travelled and trained with many of the greatest Japan had to offer, Nakayma, Enoeda, Kanazawa, Kase, Ochi, Kawasoe, as well as some notorious UK fighters at the time namely, O’Neil, Jackson and Cattle. On a working visit to Japan in 1984 with HONDA motorcycles, even his spare time on his day off was spent with a hard training session at the JKA in Tokyo.
Ian’s target was always to get to Black belt, which he achieved in 1988, but his target continues to move further off in to the distance and today Ian has achieved a 5th Dan black belt. Very few people achieve this level. Even with 40 years of karate training. When asked about his achievement in karate, Ian says
“….for me it has always been about the enjoyment of the sport and being able to pass on some of the knowledge gained over the years to other students.”
Ian took a brief break from Karate in the 90’s to raise a family & run his business. His daughter Nissara, aged 5, asked out of the blue if she could go to a Karate class she had seen at a local sports club. As chance would have it the class was being taken by Ian’s previous sensei, Ronnie who was quick to ask –
‘you not fancy training again Ian?’.
“Well, watching two sessions was enough to make him dig out the old Gi & start training again. Once Karate’s in your blood it’s there for all time.”
“The discipline Karate gives has helped me manage two very successful businesses over the last 40 years, one local to Aberdeen & one well-known International Oilfield Specialist Supply Company.
Receiving the Scottish Samurai award was a great privilege and something I am very proud to be part of.”
Ian Kirk (5th Dan)