Lee Smith (4th Dan)
following interview was conducted
during March 2009...
How did you first get into Karate? What first drew you to Karate? What
made you stay?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
tolerance towards politics at this club – the focus is completely on
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?
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.