Whitley Karate Club

Whitley Higashi Karate Club

Wednesdays 7pm
Thursdays 7:30pm

Juniors 5-14yrs Β£4
Seniors 14+ Β£5

Established in 1975 in Whitley, South Reading by Doug Bell and Harvey Wilshire, a traditional based karate club originally in the UKKW. Early club resident Instructors included Tatsao Suzuki, Katsumi Kobayashi, Masafumi Shiomitsu and many other top Japanese Instructors. When the UKKW began to break up in 1979 we joined Higashi Karate Kai under lead Instructor Peter Spanton 8th Dan. Today we are le

Operating as usual


Looking forward to a good day


Happy new year from all of us at Whitley Karate Club!

Our first training session of 2024 is on Thursday 4th January. We hope to see as many of you there as possible, so we can all start the year as we mean to go on.

If you are new to our family friendly club, then why not come along and give it a try - your first lesson is totally free.

* Juniors 7pm - 8pm.
* Adults 8pm - 9:30pm.

See you there!


A message from HKK Chief Instructor

I am writing this on what is the 3rd Anniversary of the passing of Peter Spanton and all the messages and photos on social media show how much he is still missed today.
It has been an extremely busy year all round as we continue to strive to keep Peter’s ideals and teachings alive.
On a personal note it was a difficult start to 2023 with the loss of our Father so shortly after our Mother passed away.
He was a massive influence on us at Whitley as he started our Club in 1975 in the hall we still train at today.
There have been a lot of positives to take from this year, we are managing to organise more courses and trying to give plenty of variety to those with different Instructors showing their versatility and displaying their combined knowledge.
Attendances at all of these have been pretty good and we are already planning well ahead into 2024.
It has been a good Team effort as Sue Skinner and Steve Gibbs continue to organise and push us towards standardising techniques throughout HKK and increasing the standards and knowledge of our members.
The commitment of our Senior Grades to attend and train on the courses has been good to see.
There has been great success in our Squad and our admiration and respect go to Jerome Kumedzhina for his continued hard work and dedication and for bringing home some fantastic results at all levels for HKK.
A special thank you to Hardeep Samra for his efforts and skill in the past few years as he has now stood down as assistant to Jerome, and a special mention to Max Millard who is now retiring from competition after a long and very successful career at the top level.
Jennie Falconer has continued with her excellent Judging and refereeing experience and has been instrumental in passing on her knowledge to the squad.
We have seen new clubs join us in the last 12 months and increases in our members in Wales and Ireland.
Jon Dunn has done a terrific job in unifying the Welsh clubs and a big welcome back to Alison and her Cardiff club.
Susy Soravia was given the Disability Karate student of the year at the EKF awards night a fully deserved recognition for her hard work in this area.
In Ireland Michael Clancy is continuing our good work and a big welcome too for Paul McNally and his Donegal clubs.
I cannot recommend highly enough the courses in both Sligo and Donegal if you get the chance attend their courses and enjoy the unique Irish hospitality.
A lot of positives to take from the Year and I’d like to wish you all a Merry Xmas and a happy New year, hope to see you all soon.


Steve Bell
HKK Chief Instructor


Hi all an end of year message!
In Whitley I feel we have achieved a great deal this year despite having personal setbacks.
Congrats go to Steve Sergent on his well overdue 2nd Dan
And to San and Ben on achieving their 1st Dans.
We will be putting plans for the other Seniors who we think will be grading in late 2024 to set them on the right track.
Well done to Neil for the hard work in Kimesanchin and for keeping the Club going during a difficult transition.
Great to see so many Senior grades training regularly and keeping us on our toes!
Really pleased with the progress of the Junior class and seeing how they are developing.
I hope you all had a great Xmas and enjoy the New Year, we will be starting with a bang in January, let’s go heading towards our 50th year in the Community Centre!

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 14/12/2023

Congrats to the Juniors who passed their gradings tonight
A good effort all round

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 11/12/2023

Well we’ve had time to reflect on a great weekend.
50 Students in attendance for the HKK Xmas Kata course from all over the UK and Ireland.
A really good training session followed by a tough but excellent grading.
11 Year old Myla Kumedzhina and 65 year old William Anderson passing their 1st Dans, Sami Omar and Jodie Edinburgh treated us all to a top grading and both passed their 2nd Dans.
Upgrades to John Spurgeon and Richard Bartley to 5th Dans and the biggest cheer of the day for Steve Gibbs receiving his 7th Dan.

As for Whitley Karate Club it was a great day as Sam Starey and Ben Dale passed their 1st Dans.
This time last year they attempted the same grade but were unsuccessful.
We needed to put a plan together to ensure they were in the best possible position to grade again, knowing it would take 12 months of hard work.
In conjunction with the other Whitley and Kimesanchin instructors and chatting to the boys and their parents we all worked very hard to iron out some of the technical issues and to prepare them as thoroughly as we could for the big day.
Sam and Ben listened to us and never shirked, it would have been easy for them to throw in the towel, but they worked hard and the evidence was there for everyone to see and they both thoroughly deserved their black belts.
We are all proud of the achievements and pleased for both the boys.
Thanks along the way goes to Instuctors past and present and the undying support of family guiding and encouraging them.
No Karate journey is ever easy (if it was everyone would do it) and obstacles have to be overcome but with courage, technical ability and determination Ben and Sam have done us all proud.
Congrats to you both

Steve Bell


Some dates for your diary:

Sunday December 3rd - HKK Open Squad Session, Ealing

Saturday 9th December - kata course, Meadway Sports Centre, Reading.

Thursday 14th December - club grading for junior grades (those taking 8th kyu > 6th kyu).

Tuesday 19th December - final fitness session of 2023 (let's go hard to finish the year off).

Thursday 21st December - final karate session of 2022 (end the year with some Christmas fun).

Training will be CANCELLED on the following nights:
- Tuesday 26th December
- Thursday 28th December
- Tuesday 2nd January

Thursday 4th January - first karate session of 2024 (start the year as we mean to go on)

Tuesday 9th January - first fitness session of 2024 (burn off some of those Christmas calories)

Saturday 3rd February - kata course & HKK squad session, Meadway Sports Centre, Reading.


11 Dan grades helping make it a good session tonight!


Hi everyone,

Due to the severe weather warnings we have decided to cancel training just for tonight, as it is advised to travel only if absolutely necessary.

Sorry about that. Hopefully all back to normal again next week.

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 05/08/2023

Good session on Thursday lots of sweat and hard work.
Nice to see Julia and Harrison in their new belts.
Even Koko got in on the photo

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 27/07/2023

The juniors enjoyed a Fitness and Fun session tonight, including a kicking masterclass from Colin. Poor Bob.

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 27/07/2023

Congratulations to those who passed gradings tonight. Great effort. Keep up the hard work, it's clearly paying off.


Quick reminder that next Thursday (27th July) is the end of month fitness & fun session for the juniors. So gym wear is fine, no karate gi required.

Adult session will still be in karate gi as usual.

See you there.


Pad work with Colin tonight

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 15/06/2023

The juniors were really inspired by a kata masterclass from the amazing Naomi tonight. And they enjoyed seeing some of the trophies won from all those years of competing. Great for them to have someone to aspire to. Thanks Naomi.



A quick reminder that from this week (1st June), we will be extending the Whitley hall hire and amending the times for Thursday classes.

- Juniors will now start from 7pm - 8pm.
- Adults will be from 8pm - 9:30pm.

These new timings should enable more of our experienced instructors to be available to help develop our fantastic juniors (who are doing so well), while also providing more focused sessions for the adults - again with more instructors on hand, to offer a range of skills and experience.


ALSO (exciting news), on Tuesday 6th June we will start our additional 'karate fit' sessions, from 8:15pm - 9:15pm.

These will be karate-based fitness workouts, focusing on cardio, strength, conditioning & flexibility - as well as karate tschnique. So whether you want to specifically enhance your karate training, or just have a good workout in a fun environment, then why not give it a try.

No karate gi's required, just gym wear. Although we will be doing padwork, so bring your mitts and any focus pads, if you have any. If not, then we can supply some.

Following the success of our taster session last week, this should prove to be a very popular session. And it's open to anyone, so if you have any friends or family who might enjoy this type of workout, then please spread the word. πŸ‘



Megan on the pads


Carly on the pads

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 25/05/2023

Fitness night at Whitley good hard work from everyone



This Thursday (May 25th) please come along to training in gym wear (no need to wear a karate gi, just for this session). Please still bring your mitts and any focus pads, if you have them.

We will be providing a taster session for the new karate fitness training classes that we will be adding from June.

These karate-based exercise sessions will combine circuits, weights, padwork and other exercise equipment & techniques, all aimed at improving core strength, flexibility, speed, cardio and karate technique.

And just as importantly, it will hopefully be fun! So why not come along and give it a try.

Please spread the word! πŸ‘

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 19/05/2023

Good work and a hard sweat last night
Well done all


A massive congratulations to Michael Clancy who was awarded his 7th Dan at the recent HKK Cardiff Course.

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 27/04/2023

On Wednesday 26th April
Doug Bell the founder and first Chief Instructor of Whitley Karate club passed away aged 90.
Doug started Karate in his late 30’s and was part of the first Reading team to compete at the UKKW nationals at Crystal Palace.
In 1974 he was awarded his Bkack belt by Tatsuo Suzuki.
In 1974 aged 42 he led the Reading team out at Crystal Palace and at age 15 I fought alongside my Dad.
We were beaten by the legendary Wolverhampton team Doug fought Hugo Robison, every member of their team came over to shake his hand afterwards.
He started Whitley Karate Club in 1975 as in his words he wanted a fighting club like Wolverhampton and The Hull teams he always admired, as he thought training had gone soft.
The club started in the South Reading Community Centre where we still train to this day!
He wasn’t interested in having 90 people in a line up (although he knew the benefits of basics) and was not interested in making money he just wanted students who were dedicated, could train hard and wanted to fight.
Alongside his good friend Harvey Wiltshire we soon developed a good reputation as fighters.
In 1979 he managed the team in the UKKW nationals as we finished 3rd with Barry Wilkinson in our line up, once again losing to Wolverhampton who won the final.
In 1979 we joined Higashi Karate Kai, Doug retired from training in his early 59’s due to serious knee injuries, but he was always their supporting the Team as they travelled around the UK to competitions.
No one was prouder than him when the team won their first HKK nationals with his 3 sons in the line up.
He saw youngest son Brad represent England at the European Championships and supported everyone’s successes in both Kata and Kumite.
He created a legacy that we are proud to follow, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have achieved anything like the success we had. We owe it all to him a warrior to the end.



Congrats to the one and only Jennie Falconer of Whitley Higashi
Who has successfully passed the exam and practicals and has now been promoted to BKF kumite ref A
and kata judge A.
That’s as high as it gets before international qualifications!
Jennie had a top career as a fighter and is now giving this experience back, travelling the Country to officiate at top events, it can be a very thankless task at times but without the commitment of people like Jennie and her peers competitions would not happen.

Jennie has had an amazing Karate career and is still progressing and representing HKK and Whitley at top level.

Our very own Superstar

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 23/03/2023

Congrats to those who graded tonight great effort everyone


3 Generations at the club tonight!

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 12/01/2023

A great turnout and fantastic effort tonight. Well done everyone.πŸ‘πŸ‘


Happy new year from everyone at Whitley Higashi Karate Club.

We return to training this week and look forward to seeing you there.

We have all levels from beginners up to senior grade instructors. So whether you're looking to burn off a few Christmas calories, or seeking something new to try out in 2023, why not come along for a free trial lesson.

Training times:

Wednesdays at 7pm
Holybrook Centre, Carters Rise, Calcot, Reading, RG31 7YT

Thursdays at 7:30pm
South Reading Youth & Community Center, 252 Northumberland Avenue, Reading, RG2 7QA

Photos from Whitley Karate Club's post 16/12/2022

Some festive fun and games for our last session of 2022. πŸŽ…πŸ€ΆπŸ§‘β€πŸŽ„

Well done everyone, great effort this year. Merry Christmas to all and we'll see you again in 2023.

We'll be back to training on Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th January. πŸ₯‹πŸ‘Š


Hi all,

Below is the list of the HKK open sessions for 2023.

These sessions are designed to support the development of competition karate, which includes updates on current wkf rules from top HKK referees and input from senior Higashi Senseis.

We continue to build a more inclusive and wide ranging squad.

We have included a number of dates for club to club friendly matches, where coaches will be able to participate in the matches to build confidence and understanding for their students. I hope we can all take this opportunity to raise competition awareness across our clubs with the aim to get HKK competitions back up and running in the coming years.

Open HKK squad session
Sunday 22nd January
10-11:30 juniors (4-15 years old)
12-1:30 selected squad (selections for Copenhagen Cup)
Venue: Fitness Meets Lifestyle, 109 Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge UB10 0QJ

Copenhagen Open
23rd-26th February
IshΓΈj Fritids- & Kulturcenter, Vejledalen 17, 2635 IshΓΈj

Open HKK squad session
Sunday 11th March
10-11:30 juniors (4-15 years old)
12-1:30 selected squad (selections for British Championships )
Venue: TBC

British Championships
8th -9th April

Open HKK squad session
Sunday 14th May
10-11:30 juniors (4-15 years old)
12-1:30 (club to club matches)
Venue: TBC

Open HKK squad session
Sunday 17th September
10-11:30 juniors (4-15 years old)
12-1:30 selected squad
Venue: Fitness Meets Lifestyle, 109 Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge UB10 0QJ

Open HKK squad session
Sunday 26th November
10-11:30 juniors (4-15 years old)
12-1:30 (club to club matches)
Venue: TBC

If you have any questions please contact any of the squad coaches.

Kindest regards

HKK Coaching team.

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Videos (show all)

Pad work with Colin tonight
Megan on the pads
Carly on the pads




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