Meet our Instructors
All club instructors are DBS checked, qualified to teach Karate and are insured.
Sensei Steve Rowe
Steve began karate in 1980 when he joined the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA). He trained under Sensei Mick Nursey for two years and achieved the grade of 5th Kyu, during which time he competed in the 1981 ESKA Nationals and won 3rd place in Kata.
Steve became disillusioned with the ESKA and in 1983 joined the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) as run by the late Sensei K. Enoeda and trained under Sensei’s Scott and Dean Saunders at their Stevenage club. Steve trained at their club for two years and attained the grade of 1st Kyu.
Steve had a lengthy break from karate due to problems with his shoulders dislocating, undergoing operations and lengthy spells of physiotherapy, but got back into karate in 2005 when his daughter Samantha wanted him to take her to karate lessons.
Going back to the club he knew, Steve noticed that several changes had taken place since he last trained. Sensei Tom Peebles had taken over the running of Stevenage Karate Club and the governing association had changed from the KUGB to the Japan Karate Association (JKA), with its chief instructor being Sensei Ohta.
Sensei Steve Rowe
4th Dan JKA
Under Sensei Tom’s instruction, Steve went on to achieve the following:
May 2007 – Passed SHODAN (1st Dan) under Sensei Tanaka and Sensei Ohta.
2008 – Steve entered the JKAE Nationals and won bronze for kumite in the over 21’s category.
August 2009 – Passed NIDAN (2nd Dan) under Sensei Ueki and Sensei Ohta.
2010 – Passed level 3 Instructor and level 4 Judge/Referee licence exams.
2011 – Passed level 2 Instructor and level 3 Judge/Referee licence exams.
2012 – Passed level 2 Judge/Referee licence exam.
November 2013 – Passed SANDAN (3rd Dan) under Sensei Ueda and Sensei Ohta.
2015 – Passed level 1 Instructor and level 1 Judge/Referee licence exams.
Sensei Steve Deal
Steve first became a member of Stevenage Karate Club in Jan of 1983 and was originally taught under our founder instructors Sensei Scott and Dean Saunders.
Over the space of the next 3 years he successfully passed his Kyu grades eventually stopping at first Kyu, Steve slowly stopped training regularly and eventually gave up by about 1987.
The Spark would be re-ignited when Steve's children "George and Rhianne" showed some interest in trying a martial art, after looking up the "Stevenage Karate" on Google, Steve found they were still training and took a visit to the old training venue. After some encouragement from the senior members he started training once again, 18 years had passed between finishing in 1987 and his first lesson back in 2004.
The new chief instructor was Sensei Tom Peebles. He advised Steve to "take it easy and gradually step-up the training, encouraging Steve to take his Shodan grading when he was ready.
Sensei Steve Deal
3rd Dan JKA
May 2005 – Passed SHODAN (1st Dan) under Sensei Ohta and Sensei Ueki.
May 2007 – Passed NIDAN (2nd Dan) again under Sensei Ohta and Sensei Ueki.
To gain experience in competition Karate Steve has participated in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 UK national championships held at Guildford and later the K2 sport Centre Crawley and has judged and refereed at many JKAE championships.
2008 – Passed level 3 Instructor and Judge/Referee licence exams.
2010 – Passed level 2 instructor and Judge/Referee licence exams.
2007 – Steve took over the vacant Club Secretary role.
May 2015 – Passed SANDAN (3rd Dan) under Sensei Ohta & Sensei Imamura.
2015 – Passed level 1 Instructor & level 1 Judge/Referee licence exams.
2019 – Passed level D Instructor licence exam.
Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta
7th Dan JKA
Chief Instructor, JKA-England
JKA Class A Instructor
JKA Class A Referee
JKA Class A Examiner
Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta was born in Chiba, Japan on 3rd November 1959.
Upon joining high school at the age of 15, he and a friend enlisted into the school. Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta then began training with Sensei Shinomiya 7th Dan.
Two years later, at the age of 17, he received his black belt. Sensei Ohta also won his local area championship and consequently went on to compete in the all Japan high school championships. It was also compulsory within the school curriculum at this time to study either Judo or Kendo. During this time Sensei chose to practise Judo twice a week for two years.
After finishing high school Sensei went onto university. Unbelievably he made the decision not to continue with Karate. However, the Takushoku University had a tremendous reputation as one of Japan's strongest Karate clubs and it wasn't long before the club coach, Ishikawa Sensei encouraged him to join and continue training. Many of the JKA's top senseis including Masters Nakayama and Enoeda had previously graduated from Takushoku.
Sensei Ohta found himself training five hours a day, before and after his daily studies. He sometimes wondered what he was doing and why he was doing it but recalled that all the karate students would encourage and be supportive of one another.Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta, 7th Dan JKA During an interview with Shotokan Karate Magazine in 1999 Sensei admitted that he would not give up if the others in the group didn't give up. This strength of character and competitive edge kept him going.
After leaving university he was unsure what to do with his future and so decided to continue with Karate at the JKA. Sensei Tsuyama encouraged him to take the morning classes at the dojo and then to finally join the highly prestigious JKA instructors course. Sensei Ohta soon found himself training alongside such respected names as sensei's Shoji, Asai, Abe, Tanaka, Osaka, Kagawa and Yahara. It was also common practice at this time for Sensei Nakayama to teach and assist during classes.
Ohta Sensei recalls that Master Nakayama was totally different to the other instructors. "He was quite gentle and wouldn't shout. He would concentrate on explaining the details of each movement and would make sure that everything was performed technically correctly. His classes would often be less physical than the other instructors, but his eyes would not let you escape."
Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta, 7th Dan JKA. In 1982, Sensei Ohta was recommended to Sensei Enoeda by Tsuyama Sensei as a possible assistant. Sensei Enoeda's assistant at that time, Sensei Tomita, was due to leave England and return to Japan. At first Sensei Ohta was worried about living up to the very high standards set by Sensei Enoeda.
As a teenager growing up in Japan, he would often hear stories about the legendary Enoeda. However, he need not have worried. Sensei Enoeda retained him as his personal assistant for the next twenty-one years up until his death in 2003.
During those two decades, Sensei Ohta earned himself the reputation as an outstanding Karate-ka and one of the most popular and technically skilled shotokan instructors in the world. He worked tirelessly for Sensei Enoeda teaching twice daily at the Marshall Street dojo in London's west end. He also spent a great deal of his time travelling all over Great Britain and Europe conducting special courses and working as a grading examiner.
In 2003, following the death of his mentor and close friend, Sensei Ohta was appointed as the chief instructor and chairman of JKA England. Just prior to this appointment, Sensei Ohta had taken and passed the examination for 6th Dan in front of JKA's most senior technical committee in Tokyo, Japan.
Sensei Ohta's primary objective is to respect the wishes of Sensei Enoeda and that is to continue spreading authentic JKA Karate throughout the world. He has also worked hard in unifying Karate in this country by affiliating JKA England to the English Karate Governing Board.
Despite being one of the busiest and most sought after instructors around, Sensei Ohta always makes time for his own personal students at London's Oasis and Budokwai dojos.
Sensei Ohta is a true gentleman blessed with a cheeky sense of humour and a great ambassador, not just for the JKA but for karate across the board.