profile - Pete Whitney, 7th Dan
I started training in 1966 when karate in England was in it's infancy.
A Kenpo instructor called Tommy Jordan came over from Ireland to do an instructional
course at Swindon College, and started a small Kenpo class. Initially we trained in
a small car park back of a pub, but then moved to a Council Community Centre.
After Mr Jordan returned to Ireland, he sent another instructor over, Brendan Walsh
to continue with the club. After a couple of years Mr Walsh got homesick and returned
to Ireland leaving the club to myself and 3 other instructors, all of us 1st kyus.
It was around then that we were invited to a competition by Sensei Spanton in nearby
Cheltenham. This resulted in my friendship with, and respect for Sensei Spanton which I
have valued ever since. As we were in limbo and having to travel to Ireland for further
grades and instruction, when Sensei Spanton invited us, because of our situation, to
join him, we did so. The change to the precise and clean technique of Wado-ryu was very
strange after more than 6 years of 'kill or be killed' ethos of Kenpo street-fighting.
However we made it, and in March of 1974 the grading panel of the BKA graded myself,
Martin Sleeman and Jeff Fraser to Shodan. That was then our full transition to Wado-ryu
Eventually Martin and Jeff stop training and now I'm ably assisted by
Phil Bentley 5th
dan and Mark Martin 4th dan.
In our early years I loved competition and was only beaten twice. I stopped aged 40
to concentrate on refereeing. I loved it all and still do, having travelled to many places
and participate in many courses.
Now aged 70 and a 7th dan I'm trying to slow down a little, though this is proving
Pete Whitney being presented his 7th Dan|
by HKK chief instructor Pete Spanton