Skipton Karate Centre


EST 1987

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Ian Spence 7th dan and Rebecca Spence 6th dan

Ian started karate in 1980 when he was 19 years old. Shy and uncoordinated, he walked into a Karate dojo and had his first lesson. Since then he has never looked back. Over the years he progressed through his belts, always wanting to improve his skills and achieve his goal of becoming a black belt. But it was quite early on in his Karate career that he became interested in competition, in fact, the first tournament he entered, he was only a yellow belt. At that time Karate was at its most popular, Bruce Lee was gracing our screens and everyone was Karate mad. As a result, entries for tournaments were high, and to win one was very difficult. Suffice to say Ian did not win that day. However, this did not stop him from trying again and before long the trophies and medals came flooding in. As soon as Ian became a brown belt he joined the fighting squad and represented his association on numerous occasions and continued to do so for 10 years

Ian achieved his black belt in 1986 and in 1987 he opened his own karate club at the Community Centre on Broughton road in Skipton. With just a handful of students and a great deal of hard work, Ian built up the club, little by little they out-grew the Community Centre and moved to Ings School which had a much larger hall. It was there that he got to know one of his newer students, a young woman by the name of Rebecca...who was later to become his wife.

In 1988 Ian became a Kata and Kumite judge then in 1990 he progressed to referee status. He has refereed in dozens of competitions in the last 20 years and has been considered by many to be one of the best association refs in the business.

Rebecca was first attracted to Karate in 1989 after seeing an advert in the local newspaper. Four short months after her initial lesson she took her first grading (exam) and passed to her yellow belt. It was in 1991 that she became interested in teaching, two years later Ian and Rebecca were married, shortly after this she became a fully qualified assistant instructor.

In 1994 she achieved her black belt under Stan Knighton, Ken Gee and the late Dave Warburton. Ian and Rebecca then started a family having a boy (Jonathan) in 1996 and a girl (Abigail) in 1998.

Rebecca opened her own club in 2008 at the Dance Studio, Craven Pool. She is specialising in teaching young children from 5 to10 years old.  As the club has grown, Rebecca (and Ian) have now moved ALL their clubs to The Skipton Academy

Ian and Rebecca began their Karate careers with the S.K.U (Shukokai Karate Union) both were very happy there. However, in 2010 they decided it was time to move on and along with 4 other senior instructors they left the S.K.U and helped to form the Shukokai/Shitoryu Karate Alliance (S.S.K.A). This was not an easy move and they both took great care and thought before they made their decision, which they believed was in the best interest of the clubs. Ian is now Vice President of the S.S.K.A and Rebecca is treasurer and dan grading organiser.