Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club

established in 1976

Run by Matt Price Sensei 7th Dan a renowned international instructor and former British, European and World Champion.

Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club strives to offer Karate training for all ages and levels of ability and is proud of the size of our membership and the quality of our students.  We offer access to the highest level of competition for those that wish to go down that route and all our Dan grades have their grades registered in Japan.

All the club instructors are DBS checked

The Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) is an International Shotokan Karate organisation with branches in over 60 countries worldwide.  Its HQ is in Tokyo and it is headed by Masao Kagawa Sensei 9th Dan.  JKS members are welcome to train at HQ.Within this country, JKS England is affiliated to the English Karate Federation, which is recognised as the official governing body for Karate in England by the World Karate Federation (WKF) the Olympic Karate body. d.

Harrogate Shotokan Karate is affiliated to JKS England.

Chief instructor

Profile Matt Price 7th Dan JKS

Matt Price started karate in 1982 around the age of 9 as his parents were keen for him to do something more productive than just watching TV, which he was very good at. At age 11 he moved to Harrogate and became a member of the Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club. He was a green belt at the time and had been told on leaving his old club that he was one of the worst karate students that they had ever had. The Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club dojo was very supportive, one of the instructors at the time was Nick Midgely sensei who is still training hard and is one of Matt’s top assistant instructors today.

Matt joined the infamous Leeds Shotokan Karate Club under the guidance of Bob Rhodes sensei at the age of 13. He would get the train from Harrogate to Leeds at least 3 times a week and had to put up with a lot of banter and beatings being the posh skinny boy from Harrogate.

At 15 years old he was asked to join the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) Junior England Squad and by the age of 16, he was fighting for the Leeds senior kumite (fighting) team.

Matt’s first International success came at the European Shotokan Karate Championships in Monaco 1992, where he took the individual kumite Bronze and was part of the winning junior team.

By 1999 Matt was captaining the famous KUGB team and winning many national and international titles. In 2002 he became only the fourth person in the history of the KUGB to become Grand Champion by winning both the kata (set form) and kumite (fighting) on the same day at the National Championships.

2006 saw Matt taking the title of Individual European Champion at the ESKA Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland. The first British competitor to do this since 1989. During this time he was also competing under Sensei Ticky Donovan OBE as part of the English All-Style team and added WKF International medals to his collection.

In 2007 Matt captained the KUGB Senior Men’s team to Gold at the World Shotokan Karate Association championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Matt retired from competition in 2008 and dedicated himself to studying all aspects of Shotokan Karate. He’s a full-time instructor and along with good friend Nick Heald sensei heads the famous Leeds Karate Academy and also runs the Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club.

Matt has written many articles for Shotokan Karate Magazine and Ippon Magazine and has had a highly regarded instructional kumite DVD series. He is now working alongside his great friend’s British Olympic Karate Coach Paul Newby sensei and Ben Richardson sensei, who is one of my assistant JKS National Coaches, on the KumiteCoach platform.

Matt is currently the head national squad coach for JKS England and an EKF coach gaining his WKF (World Karate Federation) coaches accreditation in Dubai in 2016.

In September 2016 he coached the JKS England team to 2nd place at the JKS World Championships and again in Dublin in 2019, this time only losing out to Japan by one medal.

In 2013 Matt was runner-up at the UK Coach of the Year awards losing out to Welsh Rugby coach Warren Gatland CBE. In 2016 he was inducted into the Martial Arts Illustrated Hall Of Fame and in 2017 awarded the Martial Arts Illustrated Lifetime Achievement award.

Matt, under normal circumstances, travels to Japan at least twice a year to train at the JKS Hombu (headquarters) Dojo with Kagawa Shihan 9thDan WKF Technical Adviser.

  • 9 times KUGB National Champion
  • KUGB Grand Champion
  • European Individual Kumite Champion
  • World Team Champion
  • 16 x Grand Slam Kumite Champion
  • 2 x Voted European Competitor of the Year
  • Graded 6th Dan in Japan
  • MAI Hall of Fame
  • MAI Lifetime Achievement Award.

Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club
assistant instructors

Juliet Finlay 5th Dan

 I started karate in 1982 in Liverpool while I was at University and trained there for four years. When I moved away I gave up karate since there was no club nearby. Thirteen years later and my husband and daughters had been training at Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club for some time and I was encouraged by other members of the club to join too. I was made to feel so welcome by all and fell in love with karate all over again.

With the support, I received from Matt Sensei and other club members I finally gained my shodan in 1999. My son had now joined so our whole family was training together. Other families train too which gives a very unique atmosphere to this club. Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club has given us all fantastic opportunities to travel with both national and international competitions. In July 2013 we travelled to Japan for the World Championships where my daughter Mel won a medal and she and I both graded, an absolutely unforgettable experience.

Karate is always challenging you both mentally and physically. In November 2019 I was encouraged to go to Tokyo again for the International Seminar. Not only did I now have the confidence to go without my family but I also graded to Godan while there.

As an instructor it is so rewarding to see all ages starting out from scratch growing in confidence, learning new skills, surprising themselves, supporting each other, and maybe forgetting the stresses of school or work for a little while.

Nick Midgley 5th Dan

I actually can’t quite remember why I started karate, I guess I must have been influenced by the movies of the day, but it was certainly October 1977 at the University of Bath, a KUGB club, proudly passing my 9th Kyu the following February under the much-missed Charlie Naylor Sensei.

I reckon, I first trained at Harrogate after the end of my second year at university so the summer of 1979, how very different it was under the then instructor Christian Tsaine of the Tora Shotokan Karate Association … “warm up” usually fifty press-ups and “an alphabet” with your feet, no stretching or aerobics, basics one move at a time, consecutive moves never the same, Taikyoku katas etc.

Following a sandwich course year with yet another association, ESKA, I returned to university for my final year during which I gained 3rd Kyu under the also greatly missed Bob Poynton Sensei. And so to the world of real work and the Karate Union of Scotland (South) for a time before a return to Harrogate where I found the club seniors in turmoil with those remaining bickering about whether the club should move to the KUGB or the SKI and be swallowed up by the established Knaresborough club. Fortunately, the club eventually went down the KUGB route which was great but I soon found myself in the senior grade with a club to run, what a commitment!

The KUGB connection bought along my long-time co-instructor Bernard Williams, who was a pal of Bob Rhodes Sensei; we got by for a good few years before a young Matt Sensei was cajoled into taking over and I finally got around to attempting a couple of dan gradings under his guidance.

Fast-forward a few years and almost my first experience of the JKS was attending a three-day seminar being taken by Yamaguchi Sensei with the intention of going for Sandan; what an experience that was … the training was unbelievable, I’d never seen karate like it, I was very happy to pass in that company.

Five years later I was awarded Yondan by Kagawa Shihan at another truly excellent seminar … so pleased we joined the JKS!

I have spent a lot of time working away/abroad (before Zoom) and karate has been a constant companion, there is always something you can work on, even in small spaces, all it takes is the mental strength and commitment to train rather than sit in front of the TV!

Jayne Brown 4th Dan

In 1981 I went along to my first Karate lesson purely to support a friend who wanted to ‘give it a go. At the end of the beginners’ course, they left but I was completely hooked. I attended every lesson I could and went on to grade to Shodan in Nottingham under Sensei Asano in 1984. In 1985 I left the club for a short while and tried Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Whilst I enjoyed my time there it was still not Karate.

I had a break for 12 years until my eldest son broke the news he wanted to start Karate with his friend at HSKC. I managed to keep it quiet for a few lessons that I had trained and sat watching on the sidelines, wanting so much to join in but too nervous to make that first step. Eventually, word got out I and I was encouraged by Matt Sensei to attend a lesson. That first step was definitely the hardest – walking back into the dojo was so daunting but I was made to feel so welcome and had fantastic encouragement and support from everyone to help me get back into the swing of things.

My youngest son couldn’t wait to be old enough to start and after a short while, my husband succumbed to the karate bug so we had the whole family training together. Moving on a few years and we now have our Grandson training too! At Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club we have quite a few people who train alongside their family members giving the club a friendly family atmosphere.

At Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club everyone is encouraged to take their Kyu and Dan grading’s when ready. It is well out of my comfort zone but with a bit of gentle persuasion and everybody’s support I graded to 4th Dan in 2017. Club members are also given the opportunity to enter competitions. I have been very fortunate to be able to see my boys compete at national and international competitions and with coaching from Matt Sensei both had many fantastic successes at home and abroad. James was National Champion and European Champion and Stephen won the Shotokan cup and medalled in the team events at the World Championships in Chicago and Tokyo.

One of the personal highlights for me was attending the International Seminar in Tokyo. Again this is not a step I would have taken without the encouragement from Matt Sensei and the support of club members. Training at the seminar and at the Hombu was such an amazing experience….a dream come true.  We are also very fortunate at Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club to have the opportunity to attend courses by the top JKS instructors.

I enjoy assisting in lessons and instructing both children and adults. It is amazing to see beginners take those first steps on their karate journey, to take their first grading, to see them grow in confidence and become part of the Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club family.

Karate helps in many ways, it keeps you fit, takes you outside of your comfort zone and helps you deal with life’s challenges, plus you get to meet some amazing people and make some fantastic friends. I have also seen the effect Karate has had on my boys’ confidence outside the dojo, how it helped them deal with exam pressures and interact with people of any age and position.

Karate fast becomes a way of life. I was so close to not taking that first step back into the dojo but so glad I did.

Zoe Price 4th Dan

I started Karate 25 years ago at the age of 8. At the time I was going to brownies every week and my older brother was going to Karate. I really wanted to do both but my parents couldn’t afford it so I had to pick. Luckily I choose Karate!

At 12 years old I passed my Shodan (Blackbelt) and a couple of years later I passed my Nidan (2nd degree Blackbelt).

At 14 I had trials for the KUGB English Junior Kumite and the British Kata Squads. I competed on both squads for nearly 10 years. Along the way, I won lots of medals and trophies and even took the title of Junior National Champion. In 2006 I was selected to represent England at the European Championships in Switzerland and came away with a bronze medal in Team Kata.

I have been lucky enough to have travelled to Japan a number of times with the club and train at the JKS Headquarters in Tokyo.

In 2020 I did my JKS Sandan (3rd-degree Blackbelt) crossover grading under the watchful eye of Kagawa Shihan, the JKS World Chief Instructor.

I started assistant instructing the kid’s classes when I was 14 and gained my instructor qualification a few years later.

My main passion is to teach and look after the kid’s classes.

As an instructor, it’s so great to see my little ones take their first karate class and then watch their progression through their karate journey.

I love my Karate Family!

Helen 4th Dan

I started karate in 2004 when I was studying in Northern Ireland and stayed too long after a class in the sports hall. The karate club came in to train, and that was me, hooked. I was looking to continue jiu-jitsu really, but I fast realised that karate was far better (not just because I didn’t find myself at the end of every training session smelling like someone else’s armpit, or worse). Sensei Joe McCullough, who was awesomely disciplined, trained me up to first kyu, telling me I was well suited to karate because my legs were short (as I interpreted it), which was much better praise than I ever got from Sensei Bob Rhodes who told me that all my movements were sound, and if only I could be a bit more elegant, I might actually be ok at karate. The club at the University of Ulster was affiliated with the EKF and every term, Sensei Aidan Trimble would fly over for karaoke and karate, and we would be left with all manner of bruises. I competed across Ireland and Northern Ireland in kata and kumite and was all Ireland kata champion for the Varsity Cup. When I moved to Leeds, I joined the LKA with the indomitable Sensei Randolf Williams and received my 1st dan with the KUGB in 2008. I moved to London and trained for a few years with Sensei Jess Lavender and Dave Hazard in Brighton, as well as with Sensei Ohta in central London. Those classes were something else- Sensei Ohta a speck in the distance in a packed sports hall at Oasis gym in central

London. Dave Hazard too- building up move after move in complicated scenarios that had your head spinning, and Jess Lavender once made us fight for an hour, guards up arms killing, to make us concentrate on footwork. All ace. I gained my 2nd and 3rd dan with the JKS after I moved back to Leeds in 2011. I’ve trained in France, Mexico, Australia, Spain, and Japan – all over the world, including the JKS headquarters in Tokyo. That moment when you realise you have no idea how you are about to be attacked because you’ve missed it in translation: priceless.

Tom Little 4th Dan

I started Karate when I was 10 years old, due to a love of wrestling. I quickly found out wrestling was fake, but Karate was real. My first instructor introduced me to Kumite at an early grade when I was still a white belt. This sparked my interest. Then a few years later I joined the LKA, where Matt Price, Nick Heald and Randy Williams improved my skill set and created the foundations of my Karate. Helping me to achieve my black belt at 13/14 years old. Currently, I am a JKS 3rd Dan, having the honour of grading under Kagawa Sensei (The Boss).

I have always preferred Kumite to Kata, and I have been fortunate enough to compete in both. But my success has come in Kumite. I have won national titles at the junior and senior levels, I am also lucky enough to compete internationally. My best results are coming 3rd in the JKS Worlds in Dublin, losing to Watanabe Sensei in the semi-final, and winning the JKS Continental Championship in Belgium. My favourite event is Team Kumite. Karate is predominantly an individual sport, so to be able to share the experience with others has always meant more to me than individual events.

I enjoy a lot of aspects of training, Karate is a continual journey and you’re always learning something new. I hope through my own instruction I can help others learn new things and enjoy training as much as I do. I am the weird person who hopes training is so hard you need to convince yourself you will survive it, it’s at these moments I believe you realise your potential.

Outside of Karate, I am a very active person. My job is as a fitness instructor, therefore I live in a gym. I also wear lycra for fun, I ride a road bike far and wide. My longest ride has been from Wetherby to Whitby and back in one day. Away from exercise, I am like most people I like to socialise with friends, play Xbox, read books and listen to music. I have a cat, some of you may have seen him on zoom!

Lyndsay Midgley 3rd Dan

I started karate in 2003 after moving to Harrogate and looking for a way to meet new people. The club I joined was Harrogate Shotokan Karate, and I’ve never felt the need to move anywhere else!

I was in my early twenties when I started with Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club, you can feel somewhat naturally disadvantaged being a later starter to the art, it always seems more difficult to learn new skills as you get older, but with the support of the club I was able to grade to first dan in 2008 and second dan in 2018; hopefully, there will be more dan grades to come. 

I have not competed in karate extensively although I still know that the option is there should I want to take it. What drives me is that we have a club full of enthusiasm, from the newest 5-year-old white belt to those with over 40 years of experience, all of the karatekas that surround me inspire me to want to continuously push my karate further, to better understand and perform the techniques that I know, and to learn those which I have not been able to do before.

I thoroughly enjoy being able to support the newer and younger members of the club to achieve their potential, whether that medal in competitions or new grades. Watching them all grow and develop, and knowing I’ve been a part of their success gives me a great sense of pride.

The instruction from Matt Sensei and the senior instructors is second to none and I have personally really benefitted from the link with, and instruction provided directly from our Hombu dojo in Japan.

Over the past 18 years with the club, I have met some lovely people, made some great friends, learnt some fantastic skills, and found my husband.

Damion Payne 2nd Dan

I joined Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club 17 years ago (aged 25) when I came along to support a friend who wanted to start karate.

I’d always been interested in martial arts, and I found I really enjoyed learning the techniques and the katas. I remember practising the first katas I learned whenever I got the chance; in cramped hotel rooms, at work, and even when waiting for trains on quiet platforms!

I think the thing I’m most proud of is finally passing my 2nd Dan grading two years ago – one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and a real test of determination and resilience.

The Harrogate club had (and still has) a real feeling of family – everyone is so friendly and supportive, and I always look forward to coming to the dojo. After watching me train growing up, my daughter couldn’t wait to start karate when she turned 4. I love that karate is something we now do together, and watching her develop and grow in confidence is really rewarding.

Karate is a big part of my life now; it’s made me physically and mentally stronger, and I really like that there’s always something new to learn!

James Akroyd 1st Dan

I was born in Harrogate but only took up karate in my 2nd year at Newcastle University, wanting to try something new and was immediately hooked. The club was KUGB associated, and I can still remember the nerves of first grading under Frank Brennan Sensei. It was with Newcastle I entered a few competitions, in both Kata and Kumite, gaining a couple of bronze medals and a dizzying silver in Kyu-grade Kata at the British University Student Championships in 2011.

After leaving university I moved to Bristol, training under the late Ed Starks Sensei, and lived in Liverpool for a time, training under Chris Cray Sensei, steadily plodding through my gradings up to 2nd Kyu. It was at this time when I mentioned that I was from Harrogate, that I first heard of Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club and its famous chief instructor. During this period I travelled a lot for work, and would often search google for a karate club near where I would be working and ask to train with them for an evening. I very quickly came to appreciate how welcoming and friendly the karate community is.

In late 2013 I joined the Merchant Navy and travelling away for several months at a time, unfortunately, fell out of the habit of training. However, when I returned to Harrogate permanently in 2019, one of the first things I did was find Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club, by now a JKS club, and start training again. I was rusty to start with, but immediately re-caught the karate bug. Under the expert guidance of Matt Sensei and the other instructors, I slowly got back into the swing of things, grading to 1st Kyu in 2020, and in October 2021 I was awarded my Shodan by Alan Campbell Sensei.

At Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club the high quality of the instruction breeds a fantastic (and friendly) competitive spirit, as everyone pushes themselves to improve their karate, trying to catch up to the higher grades.  You can always push that little bit harder than you thought, and I relish the challenge of trying to keep up with or beat the person next to me. I enjoy assisting the instructors in training and I find it really rewarding to see people working their way through the belts and sticking with it. Some of the most impressive beginners I’ve trained with are adults and I don’t think it’s ever too late to start training.

Karate Training Times


6 pm – 7 pm 4 years up beginners and lower grade training (the younger kids train separately to the older kids and adults).

7 pm – 8 pm Senior Grade class.


5.30 pm – 6.30 pm Kids Karate. 4 years-11 years Beginners upwards.

6.30 pm – 7.30 pm Kumite Class. All grades.


10.30 am – 11.30 am General Class all ages and grades

Harrogate Shotokan Karate Dojo Location

Harrogate High School
Ainsty Rd, Harrogate HG1 4TH


or call Zoe on 07864888149