Get to know the Otley Ju-Jitsu team:
Meet Clare Hooker 6th Dan-
I like to consider myself a no frills, no-nonsense martial artist.
With nearly 30 years experience my roots were in Karate and after gaining my 2nd Dan with SKU I soon wanted to find a new challenge which is why I started training combat Ju jitsu with Steve Barnett in Harrogate. Training with Steve kept me focused and on my toes, not knowing what was in store for me and being taken out of my comfort zone just about every lesson.
Training in a predominantly male environment, I learnt to modify and adapt techniques to suit which has provided me with effectual skills that I know will work for women. I pass this knowledge on in my Ladies Self Defence workshops/ courses.
I am pictured here with my Sensei Steve Barnett, 10th Dan of Goshin Ryu International.
Whilst being a student I have been exposed to many teaching styles and approaches (good and bad). This experience coupled with my acquisition of a PGCE and my involvement in various martial arts disciplines means I can offer a blend of traditional and modern methods of training and teaching keeping the class content current and trending.
Otley Ju-jitsu are very lucky to have an instructor with formal teaching qualifications as this is a rarity in most martial arts clubs and schools.
Outside my martial arts career I have gained academic and vocational qualifications in various subjects including a 1st Class Degree in BSc(Hons) in Sport, a PGCE in the Lifelong Leaning Sector, ITEC Level 3 Diplomas in Sports Massage, Holistic Massage, Anatomy & Physiology, Professional Conduct and Business Awareness.
Meet MIke Hooker 6th Dan -
Hi everyone! My martial arts career is similar to Clare's but I started mine learning Aikido when we lived in Scotland. After moving to Yorkshire I decided to join a local Karate club where I caught the martial arts bug. Karate soon became a big thing in my life which spilled in to frequent weekends away(much to Clare's displeasure) competing in Kata and Kumite competitions proudly brining home some trophies in both areas.
I am also a qualified Kumite( fighting) Referee and Judge with the English Karate Governing Body and the Shukokai Karate Union allowing me to referee at national level so when I wasn't competing I was judging/refereeing.
After attaining my Black belt I also trained in Judo and Ju-Jitsu attending many clubs in the area until finding Steve Barnett 10th Dan of Goshin Ryu International.
Steve Barnett has become a good friend of both me and Clare and often drops in to oversee some of our adult black belt gradings adding just that little bit of extra pressure.
Meet David O'Halloran 2nd Dan - Instructor (photo coming soon)
Brother of Sensei Clare Hooker, I joined Otley Jujitsu
Club when it commenced 10 years ago. Firstly I wanted to support my sister in
setting up the class, but also I was looking for something that would fill the
gap since I had stopped playing football. Jujitsu certainly did that. Whilst
being physical and catering for the fitness element, it also requires mental
strength. I find that doing Jujitsu is very meditative. To do a technique
well and safely, you have to concentrate, you have to focus on nothing else. A
great way to relax after a mentally taxing day job! I was very proud to be the
clubs first black belt.
Otley Jujitsu Club is a friendly and welcoming club,
testament to the safe and stimulating environment generated by Clare and Mike,
but also by other members of the club. Everyone is welcome no matter what
background or ability. Senior belts will take time to work with junior belts
with patience and dedication making sure that everyone moves on in the learning
Along with Clare I trained for 4 years in Krav Maga to become an assistant instructor. There are many similarities between Ju-jitsu and Krav Maga which is why they compliment each other perfectly with transferable skills.
Gary Johnson 1st Dan - Instructor
more coming about Gary soon
Meet Helen Walsh 1st Dan - Instructor(photo coming soon)
I have been a member of Otley Ju-Jitsu club pretty much since it opened at the Methodist church in 2006. My daughters were amongst the first students at the club. When I picked them up I used to see what they got up to and I thought I'd enjoy that myself so I quickly got myself involved.
Both the my daughters worked their way to junior black belt while training with Mike and Clare and I followed in 2010 and became a 1st Dan senior black belt, the clubs second black belt.
Ju-jitsu is great way to get fit and learn lots of essential life skills, especially for kids. Not to mention the confidence it gives you which spills in to everyday life giving a self satisfaction of knowing how to deal with difficult situations.
I regularly help Clare with the kids classes and this has increased my appreciation for how effective Ju- jitsu is tenfold. Its great to see them improve, progress and grow into young well mannered and balanced young adults.
Outside of Ju-jitsu I enjoy going to the gym, running and boxing and have boxed on several shows hosted by Pat Cowdell of Club Energy.
Carl Laurenson - 2nd Kyu brown belt - Assistant Instructor(photo coming soon)
I joined Otley Ju-Jitsu Club around 2008 while the club was training in the Methodist Church. With my prior knowledge of Karate and the martial arts ethos it wasn't long before I became an integral part of the group bringing and sharing my expertise with those who wanted to listen.
I have recently graded to 2nd Kyu Brown belt in Ju-jitsu which was a tough physical challenge as well as mentally testing. My recent success has focused my mind on wanting to earn my Black belt in Ju jitsu, which alongside my Black belt in Karate is a massive personal achievement.
I believe any body can become a black belt with pure determination, commitment, blood, sweat and tears. What makes the black belt journey all the more pleasant for me is that I am amongst like minded people with no egos in a friendly environment. Not all dojos have this caring sharing feeling with a mutual respect for both low and high grades and quite frankly there's no better place you can go to learn to break people..
As an assistant instructor I regularly help Clare with the younger members which is a great way to embed my own skill as well as mentoring and inspiring them to be the best they can.
I found that Ju-jitsu is a true all rounded martial art and what I find impressive is the ability to defend oneself from difficult positions such as close quarters and from the floor.
I started my martial arts journey in 2000 in the style of Shukokai Karate recommended to me by Aaron Greenwood who soon became my Sensei. I was instantly addicted to Karate and reached the coveted black belt under the instructorship of Jade Miller. Practicing Karate for me brought mixed emotions and despite all the pain, frustration, elation, and down times, it brought me peace.
Some years later my Karate club was due to close so a decision had to be made.. should I stay or should I go now(that sounds familiar..). I wanted to challenge myself so I chose to try something different which is why I joined Kenshinkan Martial Arts to learn Ju-jitsu. Recognising the similarities and differences in the two martial arts I believe that to be a true martial artist you have to love it, live it and let it permeate through your life and thoughts bringing about changes you thought weren't needed or even possible resulting in a much better person.
Adrian Robinson - 4th Kyu purple belt
I started training at Otley Ju-Jitsu Club 3 years ago at the age of 49. During that time I have progressed to purple belt and lost about 3 stone in weight. I have never been as fit and healthy as I am now and cannot see a situation arising where I will stop training.
Ju-jitsu is an excellent form of self defence and teaches self confidence and discipline to all practitioners. I have found it to be a brilliant way of relieving the stresses of work and family commitments in a safe and supported environment. I can recommend training at Otley Ju-Jitsu purely because of the friendly and supportive ethos Clare and Mike promote and not to mention the skill set learnt and widening of social circles.
Keith Gill - 4th Kyu purple belt
more coming about Keith soon
Meet Kam Ghatura - 4th Kyu purple belt
more coming about Kam soon