Blitz co-founder, and International Shotokan Karate’s co-founder and Chief Instructor, Lee Bindra is celebrating his 50th year of practicing the art of Karate. To mark this major milestone, this week we have been looking back at memories of when and how Lee was introduced to Karate, what inspired himself and late wife Pauline to form their own Karate Club – The ISK, when was there a sparked interest in starting their own Martial Arts business – Blitz and, future aspirations or goals to mark another 10 years studying the discipline of Karate.
Today, we look further into what influenced Lee and Pauline to open their own Karate clubs in the UK and, what are the greatest challenges of being an instructor (and role model) to hundreds of students. We’ll also dive deeper into how Blitz was founded!
International Shotokan Karate
What inspired yourself, and Pauline, to form International Shotokan Karate (ISK) Clubs?
We had to make a living after returning from three years in California, USA. We always turn to what we know best and, for us, it was teaching Karate which also happened to be what we are passionate about.
Could you tell us a little bit about the history of the ISK?
The ISK started in Sidcup in February/March 1983. The first club was at Lamorbey swimming baths. Alan Dobson was the first student to walk through the dojo door and, he is still with the ISK today. Pauline left me teaching Alan and one other student saying, ‘when you get more then 10 students, call me to help you teach’!
What separates the ISK from other Karate clubs?
I cannot comment on other Karate clubs but, I can only say, we at the ISK promote traditional Shotokan Karate – How it was taught to Pauline and I.
What is the most important lesson that you’ve learnt from being a Karate instructor?
That I am learning as I teach too. Learning about human nature and life, as well as Karate. We are all students all of the time.
What are the greatest challenges of being an instructor to hundreds of students?
To share what I learn and know well with fellow students.
During your years training and teaching in Karate, what changes have you observed?
Changes in upbringing and schooling have made it much harder for the student to come with an ’empty cup’ to learn traditional Martial Arts in this ‘throw away and want results quick’ society.
Have your teaching methods changed over the years?
Yes, since we started teaching children below the age of 10. We have to make classes more fun whilst, teaching coordination to children to keep their interest.
Do you have a favourite kata?
Sochin, Nijushiho, Unsu when I was competing in tournaments. But now, I am passionate training in all the katas as, it’s the ‘beating heart’ of personal training in Karate. I call it Japanese Tai chi (when performing kata slow and precise), to promote health in mind, body and spirit.
Blitz Corporation Ltd
What sparked an interest in starting your own Martial Arts business – Blitz?
Blitz evolved from what we were already doing with the ISK, in supplying our Karate students with the clothing and equipment required.
What was your objective when you founded Blitz?
To supply a much better and bigger range of quality clothing and equipment; and to promote all Marital Arts in the UK than what was currently available at that time.
As the UK’s largest Martial Arts supplier, how have you seen your business grow over the years?
The success of Blitz is its passion to serve and supply the customer first and foremost. Managing Director, Majid Gharbaoui MBA (5th Dan Shotokan Karate at the ISK), has built a great team over the last 10 years who, continue to show the same passion and have improved on all that we started back in 1986. This has allowed me to get back into teaching and running the ISK.
An interview with Lee Bindra…
If you haven’t seen already, check out part one of this interview where Lee gives us an insight into his early years of Karate, as well as his continued passion to progress in his Martial Art; having been inducted in the USA Masters Hall of Fame in 2015 and awarded his 8th Dan in 2018. Learn why Karate was the discipline for him, who was his biggest inspiration, instructors he trained under and, why he continues to love Karate just as much now, as he did when he first began training in 1972. Click here for more!