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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.

After a move in location in February 1982, Carter sensei joined a karate school located at a local sports centre in Bracknell (UK), 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.

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 with Mabuni Kenei Soke image
Adam Carter & Mabuni Kenei

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.”

Remaining with Mills sensei and Sergent sensei until August 1997, after re-assessing his position, his future goals and ambitions, he decided to concentrate on his own dojo.

For many years his karate 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.

Carter sensei states that; "Through our karate training we strive to improve ourselves. To have the ability to protect ourselves, our family and friends, through principles and technique, with good etiquette, discipline, hard training and the continuation of our learning. To practice and follow the way of karate is a life long study, a journey of self-discovery and improvement."

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. (Carter sensei is no longer a member of this association)

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. He has also trained 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."

Today, Carter sensei is a member of the Takahashi-ha no Ryukyu Shuri-te Karate-do Kokusai Renmei, an organization entrusted with the continuation and the preservation of the martial art of the late Takahashi Kentsu (1900-1994).

Takahashi sensei was a student of the Tenshin Katori Shinto Ryu, which is one of the oldest surviving martial arts in Japan, the total embodiment of Koryu Bujutsu (old style martial arts). Takahashi Kentsu was a student of Yabu Kentsu and Chibana Choshin of Okinawa. During 1953, he founded his own organization and here he began teaching to small groups of selected students, where he concentrated teaching and emphasizing the traditional ideology and the spirituality of Koryu Bujutsu.

Adam Carter 8th dan Hanshi with Garry O'Connor 10th dan Hanshi image
Carter sensei & Garry O'Connor 10th dan

In 2015 Carter sensei came to the United States and was invited to teach at a local karate dojo in Palos Hills, Illinois. Here he introduced the students to Ryukyu karate and kobudo, while helping to increase the number of students at the dojo. After the sudden passing of the owner of the dojo in 2020, he now concentrates his karate at his home dojo in the suburbs of Chicago, where he continues to teach and train.

Carter sensei is the official representative and senior instructor for the USA, under Garry O'Connor 10th dan Hanshi, who is the inheritor of the style of karate created by Takahashi Sensei.

In July 2021 Carter sensei was awarded the traditional grade of 8th dan (Hachidan), and the highest teaching grade of Hanshi (exemplary teacher 範士), with the presentation of the traditional 'red belt' (赤帯 aka obi) by Garry O'Connor 10th dan Hanshi. For more information on the "Aka Obi" Click Here.

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. Teaching with sincere humility and an inspiring curriculum, demonstrating to his students the value of loyalty to his teachers, he continues to teach and share his love for the Ryukyu arts and is actively teaching and training to this present day.

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