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Richard Thomas

Richard left school in June 1991, He went to DARA Fleetlands in order to complete a 4 year apprenticeship in aircraft engineering, after completing his apprenticeship he worked for Fleetlands for a further 10 years during which time Richard  attended various courses such as height awareness, manual handling, quality assurance, breathing apparatus and working in confined spaces. He also passed a fork lift truck driving course and a first aid at work course.

In 1996 he achieved is NVQ 3 in engineering along with City and Guilds level 2 and a BTEC national aerospace engineering.

In September 2005 Richard moved in to teaching for Flagship training, he taught sheet metal, hydraulics, pneumatics, hand fitting and BTEC health, safety and welfare.

In January 2007 Richard qualified as an A1 assessor enabling him to assess NVQ portfolios.

In November 2007 Richard qualified as an internal verifier which allowed him to verify the work carried out by the A1 assessors, this was a requirement for his position within the accreditation department for the Navy, this role saw him as the subject matter expert for the whole of the aircraft engineering training carried out by the Navy.

Richard successfully achieved his Certificate of Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector in October 2007.

Over the last 3 years he has worked at further education colleges teaching marine engineering and basic engineering to 16 – 19 year olds.

In February 2010 Richard qualified as a First aid instructor and now deliver first aid training to both civilians and military personnel, the reason for this career change is mainly due to his wife and child having a bone condition that can cause them both to break bones very easily.

Sensei Steve Fyffe 4th Dan Aikido (UK)


Steve Fyffe 4th Dan was born 24 July 1951, he was registered Blind from birth. He took up Judo from 1957 until retiring 1987, gaining grade 4th Dan. Started Aikido September 1987 and was awarded (Shodan) 1st Dan Black Belt 1992 from The National Aikido Federation. Awarded (Nidan) 2nd Dan Black Belt 1999.Joined Shin-Gi-tai Aikido Society 2000. Awarded (Sandan) 3rd Dan Black Belt 2002.Awarded (Yondan) 4th Dan in September 2004 He holds Certificates in NVQ level 3 Teaching/instructor (Aikido).Other interests include: Iaido Golf, Football, Music Reading Listening to the Radio. He enjoys doing voluntary work and helping others. When he has time, Steve also likes to play games such as Chess and Cribbage. He has a Guide Dog named Sykes who drags him all over the place.Steve is a registered Instructor for the Ishin Ryu Honbu Dojo (Aikido). and is also a member of the CUA Aikido Union in TynesideSteve is a registered Coach for the BAB British Aikido Board. He is a member of the Guild of Renmei Yudansha (M.G.R.Y.) and recently from the 1st March 2007, he has been certified by The Cane Masters International Association (C.M.I.A.) as A "Cane Master", Instructor, Instructor for the Disabled in Cane and C.M.I.A. Director (Responsable for all issue regarding people with disabilities in the UK).

Florence Saussol


Flo was born in Melun, France where she started her Martial Arts training with Judo from age 6 to 9 reaching her Green Belt.

Moving to Nottingham in 1996, she decided to start training again and found a local Tae Kwon Do centre (Vic Marke's School of Champions) where she attained her 1st cup, moving on when some of her instructors set up a new training venture (The Tao Academy), she tested and passed her 1st Dans in Tae Kwon Do and Kickboxing. A further move and she became one of the founder members of Apex Martial Arts Academy, where after further training she passed her 2nd Dan Tae Kwon Do and 2nd Dan Boka Jukado. She has represented Apex at several competitions and won gold in patterns at European and World title level. Always first to volunteer for an adventure, she climbed Mount Rainier, Seattle, USA, raising sponsorship and awareness for DMAA

Charles Spring

Charles Spring is a senior lecturer in Martial Arts and Sports Management, for the University of Derby Buxton where he is the Programme Leader for the Joint Honours Martial Arts and various Sports related programmes including the MA in Strategic Sports Management.  His Martial Arts career has spanned 35 years that has included participation in competition to international level. His first Chief Instructor was Phil Milner through the International Budo Association. He has instructor grades in Karate, Kickboxing and Krav Maga and currently has clubs based at the University of Derby Kedleston Road and Buxton Campuses as well were he resides in Derbyshire. The joint honours degree at the University of Derby is the first accredited by an academic institution in Europe. Through his work at the University and the running of his clubs he has taught in Finland and Japan as well as at camps for people with visual impairments. He is pleased to be asked to be an ambassador for the Disability Martial Arts Association Previously he worked has in the Leisure Industry as a gym manager, personal trainer, martial arts instructor and coached in various other sports in and around Birmingham. His first degree was in Leisure Management and his Masters degree is in Tourism Business Administration. His key interests are the sociological impacts of sports and leisure on communities and how through sports communities may benefit directly.

Landé Fourie [3rd Dan]


Essex Sport Personality of the Year, 2009, Landé Fourie , 3rd Dan Shotokan karate , 4th Dan Freestyle karate, BA(SW)Hons, BSc (Psych)Hons] UKTKF Shotokan Instructor, started karate 1985 under the JKA in South Africa. Relocating to England in 1994 she continued her karate career where has been assistant instructor at other clubs, before opening her own, now full time, dojo in Colchester in 2007. Landé competes on local, national and international level with many successes including FSKA Team and Individual Kata Titles. She broke her elbow during a national tournament in 2006, yet continued to win national kumite title that year, as well as triple golds at the Five Continents Championships in Ireland a few weeks later.  That fracture, that wasn’t diagnosed until almost a year later, and then operated on in January 2007, meant that Landé took a sabbatical from tournaments until 2009 when she took part in the FSKA World Championships regaining her Individual Kata, Team Kata and Team Kumite titles, and received silver in individual kumite.  Landé has a post graduate degrees in Social Work and Psychology and worked as a Child Protection Social Worker and Family Court Advisor until 2007 when she changed her career to become a full time karate instructor.  Landé short stint (6 months) in a wheelchair in early 2005 gave her a better appreciation for doing sport with a disability. As a result Landé has fully embraced teaching those with various abilities including deaf, blind, with prosthetic limbs, and cerebral palsy through her career as full time instructor.

Wendi Dragonfire, 9th Dan Netherlands

Wendi Dragonfire, 9th Dan Shuri-Ryu Karate en 2nd Dan Modern Arnis, is a direct student of the late Grand Master Robert A. Trias (Shuri-Ryu) and the late Professor Remy A. Presas (Modern Arnis). Dragonfire is one of the leaders in providing Martial Arts and Self Defense to a diverse population including, people with different abilities, women, children, older people, mixed groups, people from diverse cultures to name a few. Dragonfire has been designing programs that speak to the needs of diverse groups while continuing to be true to the integrity of the principles and values of Martial Arts and Self Defense training.

Simon Ward Chief Instructor Wards Karate-Do


Since starting Shotokan Karate at age 8 with SKA, Simon has progressed through the belts steadily and has now achieved his 4th Dan (awarded from Sensei Sharkey 8th Dan of the English Karate Organisation). January 2007 saw him start teaching his own classes at his own club in Downham Market, Norfolk. Since then the club has grown and he now teaches multiple days per week at various locations throughout West Norfolk. Another big mile stone for him was that in January 2010 he started West Norfolk’s first dedicated SEN Karate class. Although starting as a Shotokan student, he teaches a mixed style of Karate taking influence from various styles which he has studied, and inspiration from Terry Wingrove (a DMAA patron) who introduced him to Karate Jutsu and other instructors who have introduced him to Okinawan Karate. He is now the chief instructor of not only his own schools (collectively known as Wards Karate-Do) but also the West Norfolk Karate Association. He has a simple philosophy that Karate is beyond style and system, it is part of everybody all the time, subsequently – regardless of any physical or learning difficulties, there is always something that you can learn/take from Karate. If you are willing to work hard, and want to learn, he will teach you as much as he can. Plans for the future include a trip to Okinawa & mainland Japan where he hopes to train at some of the great Dojo’s that exist, along with their great instructors.

Marc and Bradley Grayston



Marc and Bradley Grayston have both been training in karate since the age of 4, and this year celebrate their 22nd year in martial arts. They have been teaching Shindo-Ryu Karate for ten years, and have taught all over the United Kingdom, and worldwide. Both the Grayston brothers teach adults in the Essex area, but are known for being specialist children’s martial arts teachers. They have successfully taken sessions on international martial arts courses in countries such as Italy, USA, Turkey, Portugal, France and Austria.

Both of them have actively taught martial arts to disabled adults and children in the Essex area, and maintain links with local community centres and schools to continue their involvement.

 Marc and Brad are extremely proud to be ambassadors of the Disability Martial Arts Association, and have chosen the DMAA as Official Charity for the 6th Kodosai event, which is due to take place in 2011.

Benjamin Evans Special Needs Taekwon-Do Director New Zealand

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Mr. Benjamin Evans (Left) – Special Needs Taekwon-Do Director and ITF President Prof. Dr. Chang Ung (Right)

The International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) President and IOC Member, Prof. Dr. Chang Ung, recognises the Special Needs Taekwon-Do under Director Mr. Benjamin Evans. Special Needs Taekwon-Do has been officially recognised by the ITF HQ, ITF Masters and Senior Masters across the globe.

Special Needs Taekwon-Do Pioneer Information

Benjamin Evans was the first to integrate Special Needs students into mainstream ITF Taekwon-Do classes. He recently held a first for ITF in New Zealand and Oceania: The first Special Needs Taekwon-Do Championship was held alongside the second general Hawke's Bay ITF Championship on March 20th, 2010. TVNZ's award winning after-news program, Close Up, was there at the special event. All students of HB ITF demonstrated to the nation the true Taekwon-Do spirit in New Zealand.  Whether being in a wheel chair performing a pattern or demonstrating to us that all abilities can achieve, this was a symbol of what General Choi Hong Hi, Founder of original Taekwon-Do, believed it was all about, giving opportunity to all abilities with no segregation. His belief is that all should be competing and being there as ONE.

Benjamin has competed in Regional, National and International Championships in New Zealand, UK, Bulgaria, Australia and Russia. He has represented New Zealand at Junior & Senior World Championships in Sparring, Patterns, Power Breaking and Special Technique. He has achieved medals success of gold, silver and bronze at various events.

 He will be taking a team of 5-6 special needs students over to DPR KOREA to do a small demonstration to the whole Taekwon-Do world in aid of influencing other countries to set up special needs Taekwon-Do, as he has done so in New Zealand, officially being the first in the world to set this up in Taekwon-Do history.

 If you would like to view a link on Special Needs Taekwon-Do

please visit www.hawkesbayitftkd.co.nz where there is a short 8 minute documentary video on the home page. For further information, please visit, www.specialneedsitftkd.com


Shihan Antonio M. la Salandra (ITALY)


Was born in 1974 Italy. he started martial art in 1978. He won 1 world title in kick boxing low kicks and 1 in Thai boxing. He was in Special Forces of Italian Army, after he work in Airport police, like counter terror unit. Now he is in Metropolitan police.  2007 he was elected WOSD (World Organization of Self Defence) World president, and International Technical Director actually he's Krav Maga expert and Chief Instructor in Italy; -World Director of real operating Krav Maga system; Kapap level C and Director of Kapap Tactical School; 6 Degree in Ju Jitsu and Italian Director of AIFJJ,  JKD AND KALI INSTRUCTOR; Karate full contact Master 5th Dan; Thai Boxing and Kick Boxing Master; Operational Shooting Instructor;

Jenny Treasure 5 Dan Taekwondo (Belgium)


"With twenty years of teaching and 30 years training in Tae Kwon Do, Belgium is the most challenging places to run a club and the most transient on the planet. I started Tae Kwon Do in Singapore in 1970 (please see website for other background information) and one of the first women to take up Tae Kwon Do.  I practice the international style of Tae Kwon Do created by the late General Choi but during the last 12 years have studied the UTI style in Holland which includes weapons and a more mentally challenging form of Tae Kwon Do.