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Adam Carter 8th dan Hanshi

Adam Carter Hanshi image
Adam Carter 8th dan Hanshi

Adam Carter, has been studying, training and practicing karate for almost 50 years, teaching since 1985. Currently ranked 8th Dan (Hachidan) Black Belt and with the teaching title of Hanshi, in traditional Okinawan Karate.

Carter-sensei first began studying karate in 1974 while still at school in the UK, under Suzuki Tatsuo sensei of Wadō-ryū (和道流). The Wadō-ryū style of karate was founded by Otsuka Hironori, which was first registered with the Japanese Dai-Nippon-Butoku-Kai in 1938. Prior to this Carter-sensei did a small amount of boxing as a youth.

In late 1981 Carter-sensei cross-trained in Wadō-ryū and Okinawa-te under Katsumi Tamaki sensei hoping to improve his skills further. But after a move in location in February 1984, which necessitated a change in dojo, he joined a karate school located at a local sports centre, which at the time taught Sankukai karate.

Sankukai karate is a style of karate founded by Nanbu Yoshinao in 1971. It was created by the combining of principles and techniques of Aikido, Judo, Shito-Ryu karate and Shukokai karate. The chief instructor was Prof. Roger Mills 8th dan Kyoshi (then 5th dan), the assistant instructors were Dave Ireland sensei (4th dan), and Bob Sergent sensei 7th dan (then 3rd dan). In 1985, Mills-sensei changed to the Shito-Ryu style of karate, under Kusano Kenji Soke, and Tsukada Ryozo of Kusano-ha Shito-Ryu Kenpo Karate-do.

Carter sensei with Mabuni Kenei Soke image
Adam Carter & Mabuni Kenei

In the 1980's and 1990's, Carter-sensei competed in many karate tournaments throughout the UK and Europe, in kata and kumite, winning and placing highly in many of these events, as part the dojo karate team and individually.

Carter-sensei completely immersed himself in karate and sought out many different instructors, schools and dojo. He trained with practitioners from many other styles of karate, including Goju Ryu, Shotokan and Kyokushin. Ronnie Colwell-sensei, one of the greats of the martial arts said; "It’s wonderful to see a person so deeply interested in Budo as you are.”

He remained with his instructors and the British Shito-Ryu Karate Association until August 1997, then after re-assessing his position, his future goals and ambitions, he decided to concentrate on his own dojo.

For many years the karate he studied was mainly sport orientated, therefore he sought out many instructors throughout the UK, USA, Japan and Okinawa, to seek out a more traditional form of karate. Carter-sensei truly wanted to return to pragmatic concepts and methods of training with the aim of removing the sporting element, seeking a more self-protection orientated karate.

Early Days with Tsukada-sensei & Mills-sensei image
Early Days with Tsukada-sensei & Mills-sensei

In September 2000 Carter sensei became a member of the Shito-Ryu International Karate-Do Kai, under Mabuni Kenzo Soke, the son of the founder of Shito-Ryu karate, Mabuni Kenwa (1889-1952), as his official UK representative and senior instructor for England, in Seito (pure/original) Shito-Ryu.

One of the highlights of his karate career was being promoted by Mabuni Kenzo Soke in Japan. After Mabuni Kenzo Soke passed away in 2005, Carter-sensei continued to visit dojo, attend seminars and courses with many Okinawan and Japanese masters, both home and abroad, also training with many of the top Japanese and Okinawan karate instructors who visited the UK and Europe over the last five decades.

Hidetoshi Nakahashi and Adam Carter image
Adam Carter & Nakahashi Hidetoshi

Carter-sensei's interests have always been in the study and application of kata for self-defense/self-protection using methods and principles taken from old Okinanwan karate. His research has taken him to many Japanese and Okinawan instructors who practice the "Koryu" (古流 old ways) systems of karate.

Grand Master Ronnie Colwell said; "...the warrior is there to do a job, there is no time or room for the superfluous on the battlefield. Some of the modern gymnastics that gets added to the fighting systems these days would get you killed when it came time to really be tested."

In 2015 Carter-sensei was invited to teach at a karate dojo in Palos Hills, Illinois, USA. Introducing the students to Ryukyu Karate and Kobudo, and helping to increase the number of students at the dojo. Following the success at this dojo, he relocated from the UK to the Chicago suburbs in 2016.

In January 2020, Carter-sensei was awarded the grade of 8th dan (Hachidan), the highest teaching title of Hanshi (exemplary teacher) in the art of Ryukyu-Shurite, and presented with the traditional "Aka Obi" - (Red Belt) by a group of senior martial artists from the Zenkoku Budō Kyōkai (全国武道協会) (National Martial Arts Association).

After the sad and sudden passing of the owner of the Palos Hills dojo in February 2020, Carter-sensei decided to relocate and teach a small group of dedicated students at his traditional home dojo in the suburbs of Chicago.

Adam Carter 8th dan Hanshi image
Adam Carter Hanshi
wearing the Aka Obi (red belt))

On a trip to the UK in Spetember 2023, Carter-sensei had the opportunity to reunite with Master Katsumi Tamaki 10th dan, an Okinawan who had relocated to the UK from Japan in 1981. Carter-sensei had maintained a continuous connection with Master Tamaki ever since training together at his Bracknell-based dojo in Berkshire during the early 1980s. It was during this particular visit that proved to be a significant moment for Carter-sensei. Master Tamaki, along with senior instructor, Hanshi Rhys Collins, 9th dan, officially endorsed and ratified Carter-sensei's 8th dan rank, and title of Hanshi. An agreement was reached, and Tamaki-sensei assumed the role of mentor to the Shuri Dojo, a privilege that filled Carter-sensei with genuine humility.

Passionate about the traditional fighting arts, but preferring functionality and pragmatism, inspired by the likes of Ronnie Colwell, Patrick McCarthy, Iain Abernethy, Vince Morris and many more pragmatic karate teachers. (no direct lineage is implied)

Teaching karate since 1985, today Carter-sensei enjoys sharing his experience gained in almost five decades, by passing on this knowledge and understanding to his students. He continues to teach and share his love for the Ryukyu arts and is actively teaching and training to this present day at the Shuri Dojo.


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