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Instructor Profile

Sensei Carl Herbert 4th Dan

After excelling at a range of athletic events at middle school and going on to represent Leeds City Boys at rugby, Carl found limited opportunities in High School to continue with the sports he enjoyed. "I decided to try my hand at boxing; Ali was my hero. However, I quickly realised that this was not the sport for me. I still wanted to find something that I would enjoy doing. When my Dad suggested karate I jumped at the chance and started going to the Leeds Zanshin Karate Club, which was run from above the Latvian club in Chapeltown, Leeds. The instructor there was sensei Mike Burnand."Carl continues: "My friend, Stephen Foster, and I were the only kids there. All the rest of the pupils were adults. At the beginning it was Stephen who showed enthusiasm for the classes. I really only carried on going for Stephen’s sake because he would not have been able to go without my Dad taking him. It was only when Stephen decided to stop that I realised how much I enjoyed the training. By this time I had made good friends with the adults, especially Paul Lynch, who was an exceptional fighter on the competition circuit. He took me under his wing and we have remained the best of friends to this day." As many students find, the first few competitions weren't easy, "Being the only kid there, and sparring with the adults, I found my first competition awkward. I was fighting against people my size or smaller and was knocked out in the early rounds. However, I soon got used to it and won my first trophy in the Yorkshire & Humberside open in 1983. This was my third competition where I won joint 3rd place in the thirteen to fifteen year old boy’s Kumite. I owe a lot of my success to Mike Burnand, who took the time to encourage me to take part in competitions throughout the country and also organised international trips in which I took part."Having enjoyed significant success on the competition circuit it was now time for Carl to progress his karate further, "As a former ZKGB team member and EKB National Champion, I now felt it was time to put something back into the sport. I decided to start my own club, the first of which was in South Leeds, in 1987. I ran this club until I had the opportunity to open my own fitness centre in Harehills in 1997. The Ken Toh Kai karate club quickly established itself as one of the most successful and high profile clubs in Leeds, regularly winning championships, at both regional and national level."Carl has been priviliged to have trained and fought with some of the very best exponents of karate :TRAINED UNDERMike Burnand, Ray Wilson, Akita, Kanazawa, Ticky Donovan, Dave Hazard, Bob Rhodes, Steve Cattle, Billy Higgins, Paul Lynch, Meiji Suzuki and Les Carr.FOUGHTGeorge Best - KUGB, Paul Lynch, Randy Williams - KUGB, Milton Hector - FEKO, Les Carr - SKU, Joe Grinion - SKU, Joe Johnson, Ronnie Christopher - KUGB, Owen Murry - KUGB, Ian Cole, Rob Loft - KUGB, Mick Sawyer - KUGB, Paul Mendham - KUGB, Eddie Gilliespie, Fred Fawcett - KUGB, Steve Cattle - KUGB and Carl Spencer Lauger.