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Sensei Frank Jennings, 4th Dan
Frank Jennings is chief instructor at Senshi Karate. He has dabbled with taekwondo, ninjitsu, kickboxing and even trained in (Japanese) jujitsu for a while. But only karate stuck and he has been training in that since 1996. In his time he has entered karate competitions (and even won some medals). In 2016 he founded Senshi Karate, in 2021 co-founded Shotokan Connect, a new karate association body, and graded to 4th Dan in 2022 under Senseis Ivan Birch, Ian Willis and Robin Dale.
Sensei Alex Illsley, 1st Dan
Alex Illsley began training at Barnsley SKC in 1992 and graded to 1st Dan black belt with the KUGB in 2006 under Senseis Andy Sherry and Frank Brennan. She also trained for some time at Tora (then based in Chingford), before joining Senshi Karate in 2017.
Sensei Arianna Jennings, 1st Dan
Arianna Jennings began training when she was 6 and was the first person to pass her black belt through Senshi Karate, in 2018 with the KUGB. Arianna became an instructor at the club in 2021.
Senpai Alaina Jennings, 2nd Dan
Alaina Jennings began training just before she turned 6. In 2019 she passed 1st Dan black belt, the second person to do so through Senshi Karate, and in 2022 passed 2nd Dan with Shotokan Connect under Senseis Ivan Birch, Ian Willis and Robin Dale, the first person to do through the club. Alaina often assists with teaching.
Lesley Brook is the Wellbeing Manager for both Senshi Karate and our association body, Shotokan Connect. This involves her in providing advice and guidance on diversity, inclusion and safeguarding. Lesley has been a keen member of Senshi Karate since 2019, having come back to karate after a long break. Professionally, she worked in the fields of HR, Diversity and Inclusion.
We place the utmost importance on the wellbeing of all our students, and as part of this have a robust approach to safeguarding. Details of the Shotokan Connect safeguarding policy can be found at Safeguarding Policy – Shotokan Connect
Senshi Karate was established in Greenwich, south east London in April 2016 by Sensei Frank Jennings to help fulfil his promise to his daughters to get them to black belt. In November 2016 he set up another branch in nearby Charlton. Both daughters have since achieved their black belts and both still train and teach at the club.
It is a family-friendly club, with a range of ages from children to adults and a good balance of men/boys to women/girls. The club is run not-for-profit, meaning the motivation is the karate, not the money. Senshi Karate hosts guest instructors several times a year and, to ensure quality is maintained, the grading syllabus and grading standards are set independently of the club by the Quality Assurance Committee at Shotokan Connect.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I have had such a really positive experience of Senshi Karate”, Lesley Brook
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Family friendly Shotokan karate club, great instructor”, Ann Li
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Best place ever been”, Joel George
Senshi & Karate
Senshi or 戦士 means warrior or combatant. It comprises the kanji 戦 (sen) meaning “war” and 士 (shi) meaning “A person with a certification”. It was originally connected with Samurai or warrior, who had a licence to kill. In Japanese they use “侍” or “士” for Samurai.
Karate or 空手 means empty hand. It comprises the kanji 空 (kara) meaning “empty” and 手 (te) meaning “hand”. Karate is an unarmed martial art with its roots in Okinawa and, before that, in China. It trains you to defend yourself not just through skilful technique but also through awareness which will hopefully save you from getting into conflict in the first place.
So Senshi Karate means warrior unarmed combat…
Senshi Karate is affiliated to Shotokan Connect an organisation set up in 2021 by a dedicated group of practitioners of shotokan karate including our own Sensei Frank. It has over 500 members. All Senshi Karate students must hold an annual licence with Shotokan Connect as this is your insurance and permission to grade. It also entitles you to attend classes, courses and competitions run by Shotokan Connect and its other affiliated clubs.
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