Martin began his training at the age of 7 and currently has over 20 years martial arts experience. Initially gaining his Sho Dan (Black Belt) in the style of Shotokan, Martin was awarded a 5th Dan in Seidokan in June 2000, having been presented with his Shihan Menkyo (Instructor's Licence) from the World Seidokan Headquarters in Okinawa in 1995. This is a remarkable achievement for anyone outside Japan and Okinawa under the age of 30. In addition to being the Chief Instructor for the Club, Martin is Chair of the Seidokan Ireland Association which primarily focuses on the promotion of martial arts within Northern Ireland's Universities.
Founding instructor of the Club in 1993, Martin's expertise as a martial arts coach includes the development of individuals to Black Belt level as well as numerous competitive successes at regional and national level. He has been a member of the Northern Ireland Institute of Coaching (NIIC) since the late '80s and was the only Karate instructor invited to participate in a pilot programme for the development of elite martial arts coaches within Northern Ireland. Martin has also achieved National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 4 in Training and Development, Level 5 in Personnel Strategy and acts in an advisory role to the lead bodies for the development of Karate in Ireland.
Martin has achieved success as a competitor at regional, national and international level in both Kumite and Kata. He was the Junior Kata Champion in Zambia in the early to mid 1980s and more recently won a Bronze medal in the European Championships in Kumite (fighting) and is the All Ireland +80kg Champion (2002). He is a also recipient of the prestigious Queens University 'Full Blues' Award for outstanding competitive success and sporting achievement during his time as a Queens Student. In addition to a graduate degree in Industrial Management (BSc Honours), he attained a post-graduate diploma in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He comments,
"Competition may be viewed as a window of opportunity that is only open for a limited time. During your career as a martial artist, however, the essence of your progression should be focused on reaching a higher plane of self-mastery."
Martin is also keen to recognise the contribution of his instructors in supporting his development:
"I have been very fortunate to have met and been guided by a some especially talented and internationally recognised martial artists during my progression:- Bonar Noble (6th Dan and generally regarded as the 'Founding Father' of Karate in Zambia) took me under his wing when I was 7 years old and through his patience and knowledge ensured that I received a rounded 'apprenticeship' to Karate. Stephen Chan (8th Dan) has been a good friend and mentor to me since my days in Zambia and is a true ambassador for Seidokan. His unique wisdom has helped me to mature and develop as a martial artist. Roy Jerry Hobbs (10th Dan) has been a particular inspiration to my development and embodies the ethos and values that true martial artists aspire to achieve."
Although Martin has been a professionally indemnified martial arts instructor since he was 18 years old, he does not coach for financial gain and provides his expertise strictly on a voluntary basis. Martin is, by profession, a Management Consultant specialising in organisation and people development, quality and human resource issues for public and private sector clients in Britain, Ireland, Mainland Europe, the Channel Islands and Bermuda.
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