Simon Oliver 6th Dan JKR Profile UK Chief InstructoSimon Oliver is a well known international instructor who also runs the JKR-UK Hombu Dojo in Nottingham. He holds qualification in many martial arts, including several different styles of karate, Jujitsu, Kenjitsu, Iaijitsu, Judo and Aikido. This wide range of skills makes him a very interesting instructor in close quarter techniques and applications of the meaning of kata techniques…
Simon Oliver comes from a background of Martial Artists. His father and uncle studied various styles including Judo and Ju-Jitsu. Simon originally started training under the guidance of his grandfather, who had studied Ju-Jitsu with Tani Sensei. But when the front lounge became too small his father enrolled him in the local boys Judo Club.
However, on seeing a dynamic display of Karate at a local fair Simon decided he wanted to train in this instead. So after pleading with his father he joined Wado-Ryu Karate (in 1968). He achieved the rank of Shodan in 1972 and won Junior Kumite and Kata in a local competition. This was to be the beginning of Simon’s career and study of Karate.
His family then moved to Doncaster where Simon studied Shukokai. However his greatest influence came from meeting Terry O’Neill Sensei at a Shotokan seminar in 1975.
In 1976 he moved to Nottingham, he started training with Sensei Shiro Asano but unfortunately training times clashed with his studies at Trent Polytechnic and with his part time job with the Nottingham night club security business, so he started training with a small KUGB dojo and travelled to Liverpool once a month to continue his training with Terry O’Neill. It was not long after this that Simon opened the Zanshin dojo with two former students of Sensei Asano’s. His dojo proved very successful.
Although having competed for many years Simon has become renowned for his traditional, defensive techniques found in Kata.
“There is no limit. I believe that if you restrict people’s imaginations (to go beyond the basic form of kata) you prevent them from developing a natural fighting reaction. The kata is a structure designed for solo exercise. You need to develop it by taking segments of the kata and practising it as close-quarter combat, effective one-step with as many variations and in as many directions as possible, allowing the body to move naturally to the attack.”
“My understanding of this comes from a synthesis of my own research and watching what my instructors, Terry O’Neill and Dave Hazard, have been teaching over the years. Both of them teach a very realistic form of karate, yet both have skills that herald from the competitive arena. What really stimulated me to ask “What is oyo?”, was training with Kiyoshi Yamazaki Sensei, a karate and Kobudo teacher . The word ‘Oyo’ came into the conversation during a question and answer session at a seminar he conducted at my dojo. It was the first time I’d heard anyone explain the difference between bunkai and oyo, and I was determined to find out more.”
From an Interview in issue 93 of Terry O’Neill’s Fighting Arts International
Simon has since spent many years studying Kata in depth and has intrigued and inspired many karateka around the world with his seminars, demonstrating practical interpretations of kata movements (Bunkai, Oyo and Henka).
He has released many video’s to explain and help develop a better understanding of kata and has been the focus for many magazine interviews.
In 2003 Simon and Terry O’Neill held a seminar alongside Sensei Konishi and Sensei Yamazaki at the Konishi Kata World Championships and All Masters seminar in Brighton. Simon joined JKR in 2004, and he is currently based in Nottingham as UK Chief Instructor and European Director.