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UK McDojo Can't Even Defend Their Own School
Intruders order karate club to shut
Apr 6 2006
By Sam Munnery
A FAMILY karate class was left stunned when two men stormed into the room, ripped the belts off the instructors and ordered the club to shut, it has been claimed. Parents and children looked on as two representatives from global karate group GKR walked into the class last Friday to recover equipment they believe belongs to them.
The instructors of the Fire Dragon Karate School, Melissa Cole and Joe Holloway, sent their pupils home and called the police after the men walked into the 7.30pm class 10 minutes after it had started. According to the instructors, GKR representatives "forcibly" stripped them of their karate belts, claimed the 54-member group had no insurance and that its existence was breaking a contractual condition of GKR Karate, for whom Ms Cole and Mr Holloway worked until December 2005.
The two instructors said they were completely surprised at the appearance of the men. Ms Cole, 23, said: "I tried to keep the class going but the students were becoming aware of raised voices. One just strolled up to me in front of the class, at which point I said, 'Good evening sensei'. "But without warning he began to forcibly remove my belt in front of the students. I did not see any point in fighting back. "They wouldn't leave. Their body language was revealing that they wanted to become volatile."
Mother Liz Knight, who takes part in the class with sons Glenn, six and Oliver, 14, said: "I was appalled at the men's behaviour. I wouldn't want to learn karate from them. We were a foot away from Melissa when she was stripped of her belt."
Joe Holloway, 33, from Brockham, joined GKR four years ago as an instructor but left in December. He said: "They (the representatives) have acted like the Mafia. They demanded my training fees, said that I owe them money, that we didn't have insurance and that we are training unlawfully." Mr Holloway said the insurance certificate was clearly displayed at the class's Dorking Rugby Club premises in Kiln Lane, Brockham. He added: "I've trained with GKR and the company is great. It is the actions of the two representatives I'm annoyed about. They are trying to discredit us."
GKR, which runs a karate group at The Ashcombe School, claims that by opening the Fire Dragon karate class in February, Ms Cole and Mr Holloway had broken the terms of a contract which prohibits them from taking part in martial arts for six months after leaving GKR. The Brockham instructors admitted signing up to the clause. The company said Mr Holloway had not complied with its requests so it sent regional managers Simon Burke and Peter Larsson to "recover" equipment. Andrew Ward, of GKR, said he asked the men to go because he had tried to get in touch with Mr Holloway before. He claimed: "He owes us £400 and he has some equipment of ours. Mr Holloway also personally owes Peter Larsson £700.
"The disruption was of their own making. The guys asked Joe to come outside to talk about it away from the class. "He is signing people up using GKR paperwork with the badge cut off. "I've sent statements to our legal department and we are pursuing criminal action." Surrey Police said it is investigating the matter.