Hanshi Alan Gibson 9th DanChief instructor
Hanshi born in 1947 in Govan, Glasgow Scotland.
My karate began late October 1959. I was 12 years old and after seeing a demonstration on television of a karate expert smash through a wooden door with his bare fists I thought to myself, how could he have such power and skill to do that. I wanted to be just like that karate man, to have that explosive power and skill. So off I went to find a karate club.
However, the accepted age for joining a karate club back then was around fourteen or fifteen so I had to pretend to be older.
Note: The only style of karate practised at that time in Scotland was Shotokan karate, a hard old school traditional Japanese style.
Note: Training back then was very basic, although much more brutal and physically than today. Because of this, there were no women or young children participating in karate at that time.
Having lived and trained in London I then moved down to Brighton around mid-1960.
It was there that I found a karate instructor called Sensei Joe Robinson who had the only full-time karate & judo dojo situated in a large damp basement room in Rock Place, Kemp Town.
After a few years training at the Kemp Town Dojo, we moved to a larger one in Vine Street, Brighton. I trained under sensei Robinson for around 4 years, then in the early 1970s, I decided to open my own karate dojo in Brighton.
Although I now had my own dojo my quest for training and my thirst knowledge has always been far greater than teaching and I often commuted up to London to train at other martial art dojo’s.
It was when I was training at Meiji Suzuki’s dojo in Judd Street near Kings Cross that I heard one of his instructors, sensei Sfetas was moving to Brighton to start his own karate dojo at Hove Education College, Connought Road.
For me, it was another opportunity to train instead of teaching, so I was there the very first day. As a black belt in Shotokan karate with around 15 years training under my belt with experience of other styles of martial arts and had my own club, I was readily given the choice to wear my black belt in class. This is something that I have always declined to do when starting at a new dojo or style as I prefer to follow martial art tradition of starting from the very beginning and wearing a white belt out of etiquette and respect.
I would like to think that my long experience, knowledge and philosophy, as well as my commitment to the strong mental and physical side of karate, has helped my organisation grow and help my senior instructors go in the right direction.
Also the commitment and loyalty of my assistant Chief instructor Shihan Jacobs and Renshi Klus and all the other senior SAMA instructors of the organisation who relate to my older traditional principal’s of the martial art code of loyalty and respect along with my strong feelings about how a real traditional karate person should behave, teach and train continues to push the organisation forward. This attitude is then passed down throughout the ranks to the other instructors and in turn, passed on to the students.
Established in 1978 has become the largest single karate and kickboxing group in the UK that has spread right across the south of England with over 12,000 students and scores of dedicated instructors. We continue to grow larger and stronger every year. SAMA has been developed into its own unique style, “SAMA KARATE” and “SAMA KICKBOXING” has become completely synonymous with me, my instructors and students.