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Sensei Lee Smith (6th Dan) – Ishinryu Dragons

Sensei Lee Smith (6th Dan)


The following interview was conducted during March 2009…

How did you first get into Karate? What first drew you to Karate? What made you stay? Sensei Lee Smith
I was a bored 8-year old that hated football. All of my mates were huge football fans, so I needed something to keep me occupied. My parents took me to the local sports centre to see what activities were available. As we walked through the entrance a huge karate class was being taught – I was immediately hooked

Who have been your biggest influences in Karate over the years? 
I’m lucky in that I have had quite a few. Obviously Ticky Donovan and Dave Hazard immediately come to mind – the buzz I get from their lessons is simply fantastic.

One of my favourite fighters is Paul Alderson. I trained with Paul on many occasions and also had personal tuition from him. Paul became the open weight world karate champion in 1996. Paul was a great teacher and a pleasure to know.

Who do you look up to in Karate today? Who do you think sets a good example of what a true Karateka should be?
I look up to all of my own students. I only hope that they are lucky enough to get the same rewards and meet as many great people as I have during my karate career.

The second part of the question only has one answer – ME!

What do you consider your main achievements in your Karate career so far? 
The following spring to mind as particular highlights:

  • Ticky Donovan awarding me my 4th Dan in 2003.
  • Representing Ishinryu in the 3on3 kumite competition (twice).
  • Being invited to instruct on the annual Ishinryu Summer Course, where I continue to teach every year.
  • Being selected by Ticky Donovan to fight in the English championships on the Ishinryu ‘A’ team along with Greg Francis, Ian Cole, Frank Lee-Sang, and of course, Paul Alderson. 

What about the future? What karate ambitions do you have moving forward? 
I’m still very active in my own training. I believe it is extremely important to remain sharp when teaching.

As regards to my ambitions I thrive on seeing my students succeed. It is such a great feeling to see one of your own students awarded for their efforts. I will continue to help my students succeed for as long as I can.

What is your attitude to teaching? What teaching techniques do you think work best? How do you aim to get the best out of your students? 
I try to get to know the capabilities of each of my students as quickly as possible. I treat all my students the same, regardless of grade or achievements. However, gaining respect from your students is a must – this is how I get the best from my students. But you can’t just demand respect – you have to earn it!

What advice would you give to anyone considering taking up karate at Woodlane? 
If you want to learn good solid karate – come to Woodlane. We have a zero tolerance towards politics at this club – the focus is completely on the training.

Ishinryu training has taken place at Woodlane for many years. Why has Woodlane thrived so long while other clubs have come and gone? What’s special about this club? Old Woodlane Advert
You could call Woodlane the heart of Ishinryu, as this is the club where it all started back in the 1970’s. And today this club continues to go from strength to strength.

Woodlane is built from its students, and these students consist of different types; some like to compete, while others prefer to focus on progressing through the grading syllabus. Others find the social side of this club very rewarding.

Woodlane is all about good solid karate – this is why this club continues to thrive.