Who We Are...  Information about Kodokai and it's instructors  

SKKIF is a representative association of the Shotokan Karate do International Federation (SKIF) in Tokyo.  With over two and a half million members in over 100 countries, SKKIF belongs to one of the world's largest Shotokan Karate bodies.  The association is dedicated to following the teachings of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa 10th dan, as it offers a solid grounding in Shotokan karate, a well thought-out teaching structure that results in high technical standards and the ability to utilise techniques in real fight situations.  SKKIF offers a comprehensive training syllabus for this traditional style in both set and freestyle fighting. 
Kodokai Karate club was formed in 1998 and joined the SKIF organization in June 2002 after leaving Jin Sei Kai.  The club is headed by Sensei Kevin Leigh 6th Dan and train primarily in Watford, with regular scheduled SKKIF Yudansha (senior black/belt classes) SKKIF courses and annual competitions.  Sensei Leigh believes the secret of the club's success is keeping his teaching fresh, innovative and organising regular courses, National and International events. Kodokai is one of the most technical classes you will find in Hertfordshire and rigorously follow the teachings of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa who named the club 'Kodokai' in November 2002 after one of his many visits to the Watford club.
Kevin Leigh Renshi 7th dan
Kevin Leigh Renshi Karate history is long and varied spanning many years.  He started training with ASKA in 1977 and  whilst there he achieved 2nd Kyu under the tuition of Sensei Malcolm Phipps and graded by Sensei Blante 4th Dan. Kevin joined the Jin Sei Kai organisation in 1981 whist it was a part of SKI and graded to 1st Dan in 1982 under Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa.  Jin Sei Kai left SKI in 1982 and he continued training under the direction of Sensei Paul Perry 8th dan.  He achieved 2nd Dan in 1985, 3rd Dan in 1991 and 4th Dan in 1997. After re-joining his club to SKKIF in 2002 Soke Kanazawa regraded Kevin his 4th dan in 2003 and awarded him 5th dan in Lillishall in 2005. In 2009 he captained the SKKIF UK squad at the SKIF World championships in Athens, gaining 4th place in senior individual kata and second place in team senior kata. Renshi Leigh received his 6th dan from Soke at the Watford dojo in November 2011 and was subsequently elected vice Chairman of SKKIF in December 2012. Kevin was made Renshi by the SKIF organisation, Tokyo in September 2016.
From 2006 Renshi has run an annual Kodokai course in the Czech Republic, this introduction to SKIF Karate led to the creation of SKIF Czech Republic and now there are SKIF clubs throughout Czech.
Renshi enjoys swimming, skiing, guitar (lead guitar & semi notoriety in the early 80's with pop/punk band 'Anorexia'), cycling, photography and squash. Renshi Was awarded 7th dan in April 2022 by Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho 40 years to the date after receiving his Shodan from his father Kanazawa Soke in 1982.

Sensei Steve Naughton 5th dan

Steve started karate in 1991 at a SKIF club near Luton. In 1998 he was awarded 1st Dan  by Sensei Kanazawa, since then he's achieved 2nd Dan in 2001. He has trained at two SKKIF clubs in Bedfordshire.  In 2005 joined Yama Kai under Sensei Steve Marriot. In 2006 he was awarded 3rd Dan by Sensei Kanazawa and over the last ten years has been a visiting student at Kodokai and supported their major events. In October 2015 Steve became an official member of Kodokai, training under Sensei Leigh. In May 2016 he was awarded 4th Dan by Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho and in May 2022 awarded 5th dan from  Kanazawa Kancho. Stevens other interests include playing badminton, football and listening to music.

Sensei Sharon Thompson 4th dan

First dabbled with Karate in 1988 with a local club before joining Jin Sei kai at Newcastle University and achieving 1st Dan under Sensei Perry in 1997. After travelling for 3 years and experiencing a variety of different Dojos and styles she joined the IASK and gained 2nd Dan under Sensei Nick Adamou in 2003. Sharon joined Kodokai in 2009 but has been an active participant in Kodokai events for many years since meeting sensei Leigh through Jin Sei Kai. Sharon also enjoys generally keeping fit and travelling and in 2011 she was awarded 3rd dan by Kanazawa Kancho in Watford. She achieved 4th dan with Kanazawa Kancho  in May 2016 at the Watford Kodokai dojo.

Sensei Steve Marley 4th dan

Steve joined the KUGB under Sensei Gordon at Birmingham University in 1979 reaching 3rd Kyu. In 1982  he joined  SKKIF under Sensei Hpa at Northwick Park and graded Shodan with Sensei Kanazawa in 1984. Steve joined  Trained with sensei Asano whilst in Nottingham and graded Nidan in 1993. After moving to London he joined Fudokai with Sensei Wise at Greenford and in 2009 moved to Kodokai under Sensei Leigh, he achieved 3d dan with Kancho Kanazawa in 2009 and 4th dan with  Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho in May 2016. His other interests include small-boat angling, beekeeping, hiking, camping and caravanning.

Sensei Peter Crawford 4th dan

Peter started karate training in 1975 at his fatherís Shotokan karate club in Langley, Berkshire. Since then he has studied Shotokan, Shotobudo, Goju-ryu and Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu karate as well as judo and aikido. Peterís karate is very much centred on kata, and the interpretation and application of the moves within. This has led him to research kata from other styles, as well as the older versions of current Shotokan kata. Peter has a deep interest in karate history and he is a long-time member of a number of karate-related internet discussion forums. Peter achieved his 4th dan in May 2015 with Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho .

Sensei Vit Stencel 4th dan

Vit began his training in 1988 in Czech with sensei Jan Sochatzi, 7th Dan CSKe/WKF. He was a member of the Czech national team in kumite in 1994/95. Vit achieved 1st Dan in 2000 and then joined Kodokai in 2005 when he came to England, achieving 2nd Dan with Kanazawa Kancho in November 05.  Vit has now moved back to Czech where he runs the Kodokai club in Brno after being highly instrumental in setting up the newly formed SKIF in the Czech Republic. He received his 4th dan in Tokyo at the SKIF Honbu dojo in April 2018

Sensei Ben Gill 4th dan

Ben started Karate at seven years old and attended his local KUGB club in Exeter.  He trained under Sensei Collacott 3rd Dan and obtained his 1st Dan with Sensei Enoeda. After moving to the Watford area Ben joined Kodokai at the end 2007 and passed his 2nd Dan in Watford in May 2009.  His hobbies include tennis, playing guitar and running. Ben has represented SKKIF at the World championships in Athens  2009 and the European championships in Germany in 2014 and later in that year received his 3rd dan from Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho & 4th dan from Sensei Tanaka in November 2023

Sensei Thomas Durn 4th dan

Thomas started Karate at Kodokai in 2004 at the age of 9, he is a qualified cricket coach and hobbies include playing rugby, football and running. Thomas was awarded his 1st Dan under Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho  in May 2013 and 2nd dan with  Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho in May 2016. Thomas received his 3rd dan with SKIF Honbu instructor Shinji Tanaka in 2019 & 4th dan from Sensei Tanaka in November 2023

Senpai Cary Leigh 3rd dan

Cary began training with his dad sensei Leigh when he was 5 years old and received his 1st dan with Kancho Kanazawa in May 2008. Cary is a qualified Life Guard and Personal Trainer and his hobbies include playing guitar, the piano, swimming and skiing. Cary received his 2nd dan from Kancho Kanazawa in November 2011 and 3rd dan with Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho  in May 2016.

Senpai Michael Godding 3rd dan

Michael began training in 1987 at the YMCA in Watford but after reaching 3rd kyu took a long break. Resuming his karate career with sensei Colin Martin in 2000 as a white belt he then re-graded back to brown in 2004 with Jin Sei Kai. In 2004 he joined Kodokai and passed his black belt in Nov 2005 with Kancho  Kanazawa and 2nd dan in May 2008, in May 2013 he received his 3rd dan with newly appointed Kancho of SKIF Nobuaki Kanazawza 6th dan. Michael  enjoys swimming, golf and squash.

Senpai Simon Middleton 3rd dan

Simon first joined Kodokai in 2004 after previously playing football at a good level.  A Sky diving injury then led to a 2 year absence before rejoining in 2006. Away from Karate Simon enjoys running, competing in distances from 5K to half marathon, skiing and squash. Simon obtained 1st Dan under Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa in May 2013 and has represented SKKIF at the European championships in Germany in 2014. Simon achieved 2nd dan with Nobuaki Kanazawa  Kancho in May 2016. Simon received his 3rd dan with SKIF Honbu instructor Shinji Tanaka in 2019.

Anna Cockin 3rd dan

Anna started training in 2000 with the KUGB under sensei Willis 5th dan. In 2001 she joined ESKA under the tuition of sensei Hitchings in Norwich. Anna joined Kodokai in 2002 and achieved 1st dan with Kancho Kanazawa in March 2006 and 2nd dan with the newly appointed Nobuaki Kanazawa  Kancho in May 2013 and receiving 3rd dan with Leigh  Renshi in December 2020. When she's not working, Anna enjoys spending time with her family, going to the theatre, playing squash and  skiing.

Monique Page 3rd dan

Monique started judo at the age of 4 until the age of 10, then starting Karate at 11 with Kodokai. Whilst at University she was captain of the karate team and received her Shodan from Nobuaki Kanazawza in 2017.  She achieved her 2nd dan with SKIF honbu instructor Shinji Tanaka in 2019, she received her 3rd dan from Sensei Tanaka in November 2023. Monique's other hobbies include skiing and cycling,

Danny Leigh 2nd dan

Danny first started training under sensei Colin Martin 4th dan (Jin Sei Kai)  in 1998 and joined SKKIF in 2002  and graded to 1st Dan with Kancho Kanazawa in May 2005. His hobbies are playing guitar in his band, skiing and swimming. Danny is a qualified Life Guard and is now a Personal trainer, he received his 2nd dan with Kanazawa Kancho in 2010.

Adelina Judicka 2nd dan

Adelina started Karate at 9 years old in 2013 with Leigh Renshi at Kodokai and she received her black belt in 2019 from SKIF Honbu instructor Shinji Tanaka 7th dan. In that year Adelina won the junior Kumite at the SKKIF Nationals in Windsor and achieved Nidan with Sensei Tanaka in November 2022. Her hobbies include going to the gym, kumite training, and  explore new places.

Olga Vassilyva 2nd dan

Olga moved from Kazakhstan began training Karate at Kodokai Watford under Sensei Leigh in 2009, she obtained her 1st Dan under Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa in May 2013 at the Watford Kodokai dojo. In her spare time Olga also enjoys dancing classes, playing volleyball  and going to the gym.  Olga achieved 2nd dan with Kanazawa  Kancho in October 2015.

Yotko Kirov 1st dan

Yotko trained in  Judo from 1977 to 1981 in high school in Bulgaria, achieving 1st Kyu. From 1983 to 1987 he studied Kyokushinkai Karate, achieving 1st kyu. From 1987 to 1993 he  worked in Germany, where he trained in various styles of Karate. He moved to UK in 1993 and continued Kyokushinkai under Hanshi Steve Arneil 9th Dan. In 1999 Yotko started Shotokan Karate in the famous Marshall Street dojo under Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda 8th Dan JKA, achieving 3rd kyu in 2003. In 2005 Yotko joined SKKIF and moved to Kodokai in November 2008, achieving 1st Dan in November 2010 under Kanazawa Kancho.

Alan Cory 1st dan

Alan first trained in Shotokan Karate between 1978 and 1984 with the late Sensei Colin Williams, Sensei George Strong in Luton and with Sensei Malcolm Phipps in St Albans. He then returned 30 years later and joined Kodokai Watford dojo. In May 2017 he was graded to 1st Dan by Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho . Alan is a keen dog handler and enjoys walking.

Rachel Brunt 1st dan

Rachel started karate aged 8 with Kodokai. In 2019, she received her Shodan from SKIF instructor Shinji Tanaka. Her other interests include running and music.

Victoria Shevchenko 1st dan

Victoria started Karate at the age of 6 with Renshi Leigh at Kodokai Watford dojo. She received her Shodan from SKIF GHQ instructor Shinji Tanaka in November 2022. Victoriaís other hobbies include artistic gymnastics, where she successfully competes at regional level, ice skating, netball, and reading.



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