Rob McCartney 5th Dan


Rob Profile B Feb13Born in Belfast on 18th March 1966, Rob left home to go to University in Scotland at Dundee in 1985 and following graduation, eventually he moved to York with his work in 1990.

In his 'teens he competed in the Irish Triathlon Association at a very high standard, culminating in representing Northern Ireland in the European Championships in 1985. Prior to completing his education at the University of Dundee as a Civil Engineer, he attended Belfast College of Education (1984 / 85), where he got his first taste of Karate. His triathlon coach, George McAvoy a then 4th Kyu (purple & white belt) in Shotokan Karate, talked him into "trying something different" for an hour each Friday lunchtime where he decided that this "Karate thing" was quite interesting.

On going to University he shelved his Triathlon career in favour of Shotokan Karate and joined the Dundee University Karate Club under the instruction of Derek Smith, at that time a Sandan (3rd Dan), which was associated to the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) and the Japanese Karate Association (JKA). He soon became a member of the University "B" team and after a few gradings and a bit of experience gained a place on the "A" team, which fought regularly in the Scottish Universities League. Following a change of instructors in the shape of Shane Cloude (at that time a Nidan (2nd Dan) fighting on the Scottish National Team) he trained for and achieved his Shodan (1st Dan) in 1989. His reputation as a formidable fighter on the student competition circuit then expanded to higher levels resulting in him wining various medals and trophies including 2 Team Kumite Gold's in the KUGB Scottish Regional Championships. His skill was not only confined to Kumite but he also proved to be a very strong Kata exponent picking up an array of medals including a Team Kata Gold medal in the KUGB Scottish Regional Championships.

In 1990 he started work as a Civil Engineer in the Yorkshire area and began training at the Kenshinkan Karate Club under Sensei Ian MacLaren (then a lowly 3rd Dan). "I could not believe the quality of the club when I started, I came from a University club where I was one of only 3 black belts and the Kenshinkan had over 10 training the first night I turned up - It was like being on a course!". It was here that he started to study and learn properly with many senior Karateka to help and guide him and soon developed a deep interest in Karate that has remained with to the present day.

Rob Profile C Feb13He quickly earned himself a place on the club team and was selected for the KUGB Northern Region Squad under the instruction of Sensei Bob Rhodes (6th Dan). He trained on the Regional Squad from 1991 till his work took him overseas to the Seychelles for 18 months in 1994. Whilst there, he managed to train alongside the reining Indian Ocean Games Karate Champion, Alain Joubert, at the local club. The club in the Seychelles was founded by some old KUGB students and were struggling for regular instruction as they were not affiliated to any association. Rob facilitated talks with Sensei’s Ian MacLaren (the Northern Region Officer) and Bob Poynton (6th Dan, National Executive member and the KUGB Administrator) back in UK resulting in the Seychelles Karate Club applying for and gaining overseas membership of the KUGB after a visit from Sensei Bob Poynton. On his return to the UK in 1995 he quickly regained his place on the Northern Region Squad this time under the instruction of Sensei Ronnie Christopher (6th Dan), the following year he was appointed Squad Organiser, a post he held till the abolition of regional squads.


Over the years he picked up quite a few medals and trophies at the open and regional KUGB tournaments though never seemed to get past the quarter finals in any of the major National KUGB competitions. "My highlight would have been in 1997 or 98 when I won both my pools in Kata and Kumite at the KUGB Nationals, narrowly loosing to Paul James (kata) and Tony Francis (Kumite). Those were the days when there were two sheets to a pool and by the time you met the seeds, you felt like you had already taken on the world!".

Other highlights included a trip to Hamburg in 1999 to compete alongside his companions on the Regional Squad from Leeds. Rob went on to become selected and compete for the KUGB England International Squad in 2000 by which time his reputation had become established as an extremely consistent and reliable competitor at a National level. Rob retired from competition after competing for England at the International Grand Slam at the end of 2000 to spend more time with his family.

Since his retirement from competition he achieved the status as a KUGB qualified Judge in 2003 and in 2004 qualified as a Referee. He can nowadays be seen refereeing at most of the KUGB Competitions. He devotes his time mostly to running the York Elite Karate Club and in the past has been Chief Instructor at the Kenshinkan Karate Club and at the York University Karate Club.

Rob Profile E Feb 13His own personal emphasis is now on the broader Karate perspective and he is now committed to pass on his knowledge and experience to his students. “I now measure success through my students. Their own success, overall quality and understanding of karate can only reflect what and how they are being taught!

Rob is now the Chief Instructor to the York Elite Karate Club, and still is a very highly regarded karateka within the KUGB. Following 8 years as a Sandan (3rd Dan) and a lot of pressure both within and without the club, Rob took passed his grading examination in October 2006 for the rank of Yondan (4th Dan). Once again Rob left it a while before getting round to his next grading but after a bit of persuasion from some of the KUGB Senior Instructors and from within the club, Rob achieved the rank of Godan (5th Dan) in April 2016.

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