The People of KRMA - Instructor Profiles
Grandmaster Lance Strong, 8th Degree Black Belt (Hanshi)
Lance has been involved in the martial arts for more than 55 years, and has been an instructor for 31 years.
He currently teaches classes at the Thames Dojo as well as visiting other KRMA schools to teach both basic and advanced classes, seminars, and weekend camps.
“Lance is a visionary who sees martial arts as a continuous journey toward self improvement. He is a true teacher who is able to guide students to the door of knowledge and inspire them to enter and discover themselves.”
Grandmaster Leo Fong 10th Degree Black Belt - Founder of Wei Kuen Do
Grandmaster Ava Strong, 7th Degree Black Belt (Kyoshi) (Kiaido Ryu Masters Board)
Ava is the highest ranked woman in Kiaido Ryu Martial Arts, and also in Dillman Karate International (outside the USA). She has been studying the Martial Arts for over 29 years. In September 1996 Ava was awarded her 6th Degree Black Belt by a panel of Grandmasters in Reading Pennsylvania USA. In July 2009 Ava was awarded her 7th Degree Black Belt and Grandmasters ranking. This was sanctioned by Grand Master Leo Fong 10th Degree Black Belt, Los Angeles USA, and the Kiaido Ryu Masters Board.
For five years Ava worked as a stunt person and stunt double on the well known television shows "Xena" and "Hercules" and also did stunt work on the movie The Last Samurai.
Ava has trained extensively in the USA and Canada in the field of Pressure Points, Jiu Jitsu, and Arnis Stickfighting under some of the worlds leading martial arts experts. In addition to instructing her martial arts classes Ava also teaches Cardio Kickboxing classes.
“Through our comprehensive martial arts training we bring women to the realization that being a woman is no longer a sign of vulnerability; it is a reflection of their inner strength.”
“Our self defence syllabus has a strong focus on removing the victims from society. And as a result of their training, it gives women and girls the real life skills, strategies, and inner strength they need to be able to live their lives unrestricted by fear or limitation.”
Kyoshi Paul Hinton, 6th Degree Black Belt (Rokudan), (Kiaido Ryu Masters Board)
A foundation member of the KRMA Masters Board Paul is a senior instructor for New Zealand. He operated and instructed the Thames and Remuera Dojo for many years, and has been responsible for managing the New Zealand organization. In addition to being a highly ranked martial arts and self defence instructor, Paul also runs his own highly successful home loans business.
Involved in the martial arts since he was a child, Paul has competed and studied in the USA, and has been a Martial Arts Instructor for over 20 years. Paul comes from a policing background and has worked in the front line in the South Auckland Area, where he also served as a member of the Team Policing Unit.
Paul believes that, "Martial arts training must work in the real world. Any art must teach real self defence skills for all ranges and types of combat. If you don't teach students skills that will work under pressure then you are doing them a disservice.
It's important that our martial art is a vehicle for the student's personal growth, and that the lessons that come from the philosophy of our art help our students to succeed in all areas of their life."
Shihan Mark Baxendine, 5th Degree Black Belt. Chief Instructor Australia
My life started as a martial artist in 1974, four years in to an amazing decade for martial arts, with people like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Benny Urquidez, MuhammadAli, Leo Fong, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Don Wilson, David Carradine, the Machado Brothers, Jackie Chan, and many more leading the way.
Starting in Judo with my dad, I trained 3 nights a week and have done so ever since; even managing to train on my wedding day much to the dismay of my lovely wife Karen. I have trained and fought in many styles over 40 years but none more complete than Kiaido Ryu, the people make the art. Today, training and living Kiaido Ryu in Australia, I also teach M.M.A and armed and unarmed combat, Fighting is a passion.When you first meet Lance Strong, you discover some people do martial arts, and some are martial artists, he is the latter.
My favorite quotes:
“This is the true joy in life; that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; that being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what ever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” Sir George Bernard Shaw
“We must not cease from exploration. And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time,” T.S. Elliot
You are only ever as good as your last lesson, whether it be as Master to Student or indeed Student to Master. The matrix of all marital arts is Kata, it alone allows you to train in all four worlds at once; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
If you are ever in OZ come and train with us.
Renshi Phil Murray, 4th Degree Black Belt (Yondan)
Phil started training with Kiaido Ryu in 1999 in Cambridge Dojo with Sensei Ross Hill-Rennie. At the start of 2005 he took over the Instructors role at the school, and in 2008 attained his 3rd Degree Black Belt and Sensei ranking. Currently head instructor in Hamilton and for the Waikato Region.
“I've always wanted to do martial arts ever since I was a small child.” “It always seemed like a great thing to get involved in; to be able to defend yourself and others.” “It wasn't until I got started that I realized it was so much more than that.” “It's all about family and responsibility and more than just punching and kicking; it teaches self control and is a great builder of self esteem.” “The students themselves have to be the biggest motivation for me; watching them grow and develop, especially the juniors, is a very rewarding aspect of teaching.”
“One of the biggest goals I have, has to do with my students and developing them as martial artists.” “There is no higher compliment than being able to send someone to a grading and watch them do really well, and to see the smile hidden under all the sweat, when they walk off the floor with their new belt; it is tremendously rewarding.”
“So my goal is to make sure that they smile at the end of the grading and be proud of themselves.” “My second and personal goal is to carry on through the ranks and become the best martial artist that I can be.” “There's always something new to learn no matter what rank you are.” “It's important to me to take every opportunity for growth and learning that is thrown my way.”
Renshi Michael Thompson, 4th Degree Black Belt (Yondan)
Michael started his martial arts journey as a teenager in Country Victoria, moving to Melbourne in the early 90’s. Since that time martial arts has grown and matured along with him. Michael now runs the Kiaido Ryu Dojo in Berwick and still enjoys helping students achieve goals that they thought could not be achieved.
For Michael the study of the martial arts is more than being able to defend oneself, it is a journey of self discovery that makes each of us a better person. He endeavours to guide students through the journey of the martial arts, helping them rise to the challenges of training and bring those lessons learnt into their own lives.
Fascinated by Kata and their applications, Michael says "Kata hold the secrets of Karate and I enjoy the challenge of deciphering them and sharing that knowledge".
“I learn something new everyday”
“The only stupid question is the one not asked”
Sensei Les Scott, 3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)
Instructor Otumoetai Dojo. Commenced training in 1992 and became a Black Belt in 1999. My first Instructor was Franshre Collerie and then Renshi Trevor Hope.” “I currently run Otumoetai Dojo and have done since 2003.
My initial motivation for taking up the martial arts was because my son was involved, but I quickly realized that it was far more than just punching and kicking. Now I'm totally committed to my own self development using Kiaido Ryu as a vehicle to achieve this.
As an Instructor I really enjoy helping my students, both Juniors and Seniors, to attain their goals, both in the martial arts and in their lives generally. Kata or Forms are the essence of the martial arts, and I believe that understanding and continually practicing them is great both for their self defence applications and also for their health and healing benefits.
The study of the martial arts provides a code of conduct, honour, and discipline for people to follow, and any contribution that they can provide for the community at large can only be of benefit.
Favourite Quote “Whatever you can do or dream you can do begin it; Boldness has genius and magic in it.” Goethe
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Sensei Paul Scott, 3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)
My martial arts journey began in the late 1990’s, attending informal training sessions with Sempai Andrew Burns based mainly around stand up fighting. A few years later my eldest son Kane joined the Kiaido Ryu Otumoetai Dojo in 2001 when he was 8 years old and I followed, attending my first formal training session in January 2002 under Renshi Trevor Hope. I found the Kiaido Ryu training environment enjoyable and training alongside Kane (now Sempai Kane) I was able to be actively involved in his journey as I trained. Watching him grow both as a person and martial artist was a very special experience for me. As we learned the techniques, principals and values I was impressed that the main focus of Kiaido Ryu was self improvement through Martial Arts training and that the comprehensive syllabus enables the development of a ‘complete’ Martial Artist. Kane and I received our Black Belts together in June 2007.
Sempai Kane now pursues a degree in Computer Sciences at Victoria University in Wellington. The values, principles and techniques he has learned through his training has given him the skills to better deal with the challenges and pressures of modern life, this is invaluable from a parents perspective. I am now the instructor of the Katikati Dojo and driven by my own personal experiences, my main motivation for teaching students is aligned with the Kiaido Ryu mission statement ‘making a positive difference in people’s lives through Martial Arts’
Sensei Warren Gabb, 3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)
Operates and instructs at the Kawakawa Dojo, Northland.
Warren has been training in Kiaido Ryu Martial Arts for 18 years. He graded to 3rd Degree Black Belt in December 1999. For the last 9 years Warren has been involved in Full Contact Karate Knockdown tournaments and has fought against some of the countries top fighters.
Warren has been the NZ and Australian IKO1 Super Heavyweight Champion. In recent years he has competed in the USA, Japan, Russia and Australia. In his own words "This is a true test of technique, focus, power and spirit".
Warren's Philosophy toward the martial arts and life is to always have an open mind and show humility.
Sensei Bradie Eyles, 3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)
Operates the Dojo in Lancaster, England.
Bradie started training in Thames in early 1991. Shortly after receiving his Second Degree Black Belt Bradie moved to England in November 1996. There he set up his own Dojo.
It is Bradie's aim to develop students to the very highest standards and to maintain a positive, friendly training environment.
Since moving to the UK, Bradie has had the opportunity to train with and learn from many world class martial arts experts such as George Dillman, Leon Jay and Peter Consterdine.
Dai Sempai Richard Harwood, 2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)
I've been training with Kiaido Ryu since 2001. I currently teach Junior and Senior classes in Bombay and Hunua Dojo's. I also attend as many camps and seminars that I can during the year. I feel that there's a definite need in today's society to help children, and adults alike, to develop them into productive members of their communities. I believe that KRMA is an extremely effective system to help achieve this. With the promotion of healthy living, fitness and effective self defence it develops personal motivation, confidence, and self discipline that can be applied to all walks of life. I believe it also compliments any other sport or activity.
I'm ever conscious that people are relying on me for support to improve their own lives. So for the reasons above, and knowing my training is advancing my own development, I am determined to do the best I can for them. Being able to participate in an art form that includes all age groups is a rarity in many activities and sports.
I'm continually inspired by those around me who strive to succeed; those who are trying to change their lives for the better, and those who are humble in their success.
My children are both members of Kiaido Ryu and are also a great inspiration for me; as I aim to be for them, so it's a family affair. Watching them grow and develop as they achieve each new level has been a wonderful experience. They do very well at school, achieving many A's, and winning events in various school sports days. I put a lot of their success down to their Kiaido Ryu training and the 'can do' attitudes that it develops.
Kiaido Ryu gives me a strong sense of purpose and belonging. I believe everyone strives for respect and to be a great role model. My Kiaido Ryu martial arts studies have helped me attain this, and will continue to do so during my life's journey. I have an ambition to develop and grow my KRMA school into a very real and solid resource for my community. To do this I actively continue my own martial arts training to increase my skills and knowledge.
Favourite quote: “Yes you can!”
Dai Sempai Darcy (2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan), and Sempai Michelle Matthews, 1st Degree Black Belt (Shodan)
”My journey began in 1996 at Katikati Dojo, then continued at Greeton Dojo under the teachings of Craig and Brinley Hunwick, Chris Waitare, and Renshi Allan Jamieson where I reached Brown Belt in 1998.” “After returning from overseas in 2005 my journey started again, back at Katikati dojo, guided by Dai Sempai Craig Mclean and Sempai Michelle Mita, where the hard yards needed to be done.” “I've been fortunate enough to have attended various classes at Greeton, Otumoetai, Omokoroa, Cambridge, and Thames, and have also attended high rank classes, seminars, and camps, meeting fellow warriors on their path. “I graded to Shodan in Dec 2006.”
”A big motivation for me is family; all family's are important it's who we are, and it's something that we need to protect.” “Getting balance and harmony in all aspects of our lives is something that we come to learn through our training.” “When we come to understand the martial way it makes for a truly happy and fulfilled life.” “And walking the warrior's path to self discovery is something that we can teach our families, and they can hand down to their families.”
”I feel very inspired by Grandmaster Hanshi Lance Strong, Kyoshi Ava Strong, Kyoshi Paul Hinton, and the Kiaido Ryu Masters Board.” They are positive, strong people making a difference to so many people's lives, and helping society as well; guiding people in a direction that helps them find themselves.” “They are Guardians and Protectors, people who give from the heart and enjoy doing so.”
”Kiaido Ryu has such a family feel to it that no matter where you train you always feel comfortable; no matter which dojo you walk into you know that you are respected as a person, and part of the warriors family.” “Student's backgrounds may be very different but we all share a common goal to help others on their journey to self discovery.” “Kiaido Ryu holds a lot of traditional aspects of the martial arts like, honour, respect, and discipline, plus a very modern syllabus is why I feel so strongly about the system Mana that should be recognised.” “I have met people through Kiaido Ryu who have become very good friends and in one word (RYU) family.”
”My aim is to become a (Sensei) teacher of great depth and knowledge, and pass on to as many people as I can the ‘Way of the Warrior,' and watch them grow as martial artists; to be people that transform themselves into warriors and help make a difference to as many people as they can.”
Favourite Quote "Our beliefs can blind us from seeing and being all that we truly can be." ( Hanshi Lance Strong)
Dai Sempai Sam Taaka, 2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)
I began my Kiaido Ryu journey in 2007 under the instruction of Hanshi Lance and Kyoshi Ava, seven years old and unable to tie my own belt. From then on, I persistently trained towards my black belt which I achieved in 2010 and my second degree which I achieved in 2012. Prior to that and from then on, my martial arts career has been highlighted with numerous achievements such as being awarded the National Junior Girl Budo and competing and placing in several Kiaido Ryu tournaments. My proudest achievement to date has been opening a junior dojo in Thames with my fellow instructor Dai Sempai Honour Israel.
For me, being an instructor means that I can give back to the Kiaido Ryu system and it makes me appreciate how much time, effort and work is put into helping a student become the best version of themselves. Also, it enables me to create and strengthen relationships with students and become a positive role model for martial arts students.
My favourite aspect of Kiaido Ryu is not only am I given the tools and support I need to become the best version of myself, it is given to me in a safe family environment. Kiaido Ryu is not about fighting or medals, but about learning, growing and achieving together, which is what I aim to contribute to as an instructor.
Favourite quote: "Don't train until you get it right, train until you can't get it wrong."
Sempai James Conner – 1st Degree Black Belt (Shodan)
James had always had an interest in physical training and joined the boxing club and Nam Wah Pai martial arts at the age of 10 for a few years.
Later in life after getting married and having a family 1 of his 3 daughters wanted to join a martial arts system for the self defence. In 2001 James found Kiaido Ryu Martial Arts run by Sensei Trevor Hope in Otumoetai. He went along to a “have a go” night so he went along and found it interesting with many different elements to it so he joined. Later on his daughter stopped training and he enjoyed it so much he kept going.
Many years later and under the guidance of his new Otumoetai Instructor Sensei Les Scott he attained his Black Belt in 2012. James said “It was one of the highlights of my martial arts journey”
Now with 2 years of Black Belt training under his belt and having completed his Instructor’s Certificate in 2008 he has decided to open a Kiaido Ryu school in Papamoa.
James said “I would like to give back to the community and have the opportunity to watch students go on their own personal journey and be able to train with them to achieve high levels of success”.
Favourite Quote: “If at first you don’t succeed get a bigger hammer”
Dai Sempai Morgan Scott, 2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)
Morgan operates and instructs at the Kaitaia Dojo. Dai Sempai Morgan Scott began training with Kiaido Ryu in 1991. Morgan has steadily built up his knowledge of the martial arts attaining his Second Degree Black Belt in June 2006. He took several years to pursue tertiary education, and during this time trained in a variety of styles.
He has lived and trained in South Korea for 10 years, training in Korean martial arts called Tukkong Moosool, Hapkido and Gongkwon Yusul. “These experiences have shown me how important it is to continue seeking information and making an effort to develop as a martial artist, teacher and person”.
Morgan particularly enjoys practising kata, small circle applications and control holds. He is currently working as a secondary school teacher and aims to create a positive and safe atmosphere for learning in his dojo and his classroom.