About Us


Pagoda in mistThis Self Defence, Karate and Martial Arts club was started in September 1983 and has been running continuously and at the same venue since that date. It is open two nights a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for two hours of training from 7.30pm until 9.30pm. It is based at Edwinstree School Gymnasium, in Bowling Green Lane, Buntingford, Hertfordshire. Our minimum age for joining is 10 years (there is no maximum age) as members have to attend, and concentrate, for the full two hours.

The club is run by Sensei Bill Hooper (4th Dan Black Belt Shotokan Karate) and his wife, and fellow Sensei, Sue (1st Dan Black Belt Shotokan Karate). Bill began his training in Karate in 1972 and has trained and taught continuously since then. He passed his 1st Dan in Shotokan under the Japanese in 1981 as did Sue in 1989. Both Bill and Sue have trained with some of the Greats in Japanese Karate; Senseis Kanazawa, Asano, Kato and Aragana.

Bill has always had a keen interest in various forms of self-defence and has trained over the years on courses given by, amongst others, the Metropolitan Police, the United States Special Operations Force based at Lakenheath Air Base, the Israeli Special Forces and the SAS. He has also trained with Officers of the RAF.

Bill was given permission to teach Karate by Shotokan Karate International, and he and Sue are also National Competition Referees.

Both Bill and Sue are Fully Insured to teach Martial Arts and Self Defence and both have been cleared by the Authorities to teach children.

Bonsai TreeBill has also “dabbled” over his many years of training with various other Martial Arts such as Wing-Chung, Ju-Jitsu, Judo and Aikido. He is also able to use a Jo and Bo staff to good effect! Bill brings all of this skill and experience into his lessons.

Because of the Martial Arts background that Bill has obtained the club is not a “purist” Shotokan Karate club. Because of this members will find themselves not only learning Shotokan Karate but also basic and advanced street self-defence, throws, take-downs and joint locks. Every so often the club does a Special night where the use of the Jo Staff is practiced by all the members. It also runs nights where the members are taught how take-down to the floor an attacker using a variety of locks and throws. We also teach how to disarm an opponent with a knife (rubber knives are used).


Bill and Sue personally carry out all of the gradings and examinations for progression through the belt colours right up to and including Black Belt level. The club gradings are based on the individual’s ability and not on how many lessons a member has taken. This has kept the club’s training standard very high.


Before joining the Karate Club all potential members are asked to visit on a training night and watch the whole of a lesson. If the potential student is under 18 years of age we have to have them accompanied on this visit night by their parent or guardian. Please contact Bill by phone on 01763 273123 or e mail at StayAliveNow@hotmail.co.uk so that a viewing night can be arranged. If you leave a message on the phone we will always call you back!


If you come along and view and decide to join us we will put you through a 5 week Beginners Course. This is One Evening a week from 7.30pm tp 9.00pm. You do not need to wear our white suits (the angry white pyjamas called Gi) but you will need to wear track suit bottoms or similar and a Tee Shirt. Please also bring a towel and some water. At the end of your course you will be asked to register through the Buntingford Karate Club with our umberella organisation called Shi Kon Budo Kai and this has a small fee attached to it. We do not charge a membership fee for joining the Buntingford Karate Club. Please check out the COSTS tag for full details on all of our fees.

Please also check out our Membership Rules under the About Us tag – and  if you want to see our club in action and see what we do please use the links to the Action Videos in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Download a copy of the terminology we use.