David Gartland was born 7th September 1968 in Plymouth,Devon in England.
As a youngster growing up, I had a fasination for Bruce Lee films and the martial arts, which rubbed off from my Uncle Chris Burch, who to a young lad, seemed to know all there was about martial arts movies and indeed the western movies. Chris had the best display ever of martial arts weapons displayed on his bedroom wall back in the late 70s early 80s, so we would often play games like "stretch" which was a game of two of you facing each other and each taking in turns to throw a knife just inches from your feet, you had to stretch out to the knife, like doing the splits, and pick up the knife with out falling over, any way that led on to playing with Nunchakus, and from the age of about 10, I still twirl the nunchuks now.
At around eleven we went to a beginners class which now turned out to have been Kenpo Karate, (wish i had stuck at it from then) but we never went back, By 12 yrs old I tried Shito Ryu, an off shoot of shotokan.
It wasn`t untill I left School at 16 yrs old, I started an appreticeship as a sheet metal worker, I met one of the tradesman, who was studying martial arts, I went along with him and it turned out to be Kenpo Karate, Taught by then, 3rd Degree Mr. Gary Ellis, at the Plymouth Kenpo club, at the time Mr Ellis, Miss Jaki McVicar and Mervin Ormand were the heads of the British Kenpo Karate Association, of which is still going today. Mr Ellis went on to achieve his 4th Degree directly along with the previous grades under Mr Parker, signing his certificate as his instuctor. The Highest ranking black belt under the IKKA for Mr Parker in the UK.
Soon after I had started, there was a seminar held and it was with Mr Parker, If there is one thing i remember about that day, was the ora this man had around him, when he came into the hall, i can remember thinking, i had never seen somuch red on a belt, a kenpo memory i would never of wanted to miss.
I started a business manufacturing top of the range motorcycle exhausts called "sidekick performance" which is now becoming a name of quality in australia. So i had a couple of short breaks, and after staying at brown belt for 9 years, i guess it was time to test for the inevidable Black belt in December 2002. Mr Ellis always told us that, a black belt grading is a celebration of what you have learnt and how far you have come, so after a gruelling 5 hours of celebrating...(LOL) I passed ...
In 2000 I started exploring Brazillian Ju Jitsu, when we could get to train, and then moved onto Zanshin Ju Jitsu with Our close friend Sensei Danny Dammeral, Danny had a fresh new approach to training that we had not been exposed to over the years, the class lesson plans were different, there were mixed classes, it was great. As I progressed up through the Kyu ranking system, the amount of moves that were Kenpo, or shall I say the amount of Kenpo moves that were Ju Jitsu were amazing. I was taught the proper way to roll, breakfall throw grapple and be thrown, I wanted to share this with the Kenpo Kids, but this was not the direction the club wanted to move in, as they already had enough to learn, For around 8 years my role within the Kenpo club was to teach the Kenpo Kids, which became a passion, in the sense I wanted to take it a step further, and reach out to the local schools, and community groups,
I started a business
.........so sadly after 20 years, we parted from our Kenpo school, and Started "KENPO KARITSU" which is now a recognised art. My passion for teaching kids, just took off, which proved to me i had made the right decission, i was in every school I could, teaching the kenpo and Ju Jitsu Blend, the teachers were happy, as to the un trained eye, there was not martial arts fighting, and became a household name very quickly " Until we emigrated"..
A long time friend of mine was an Instructor by the name of Mr Paul Smith, he was a 7th Dan in Godo Ryu, and one of the old school martial artists, that was training in Bujinkai in Plymouth Long before anyone was interested in martial arts, he was the area coordinator for FEKO who is one of the main governing bodies, he has competed and represented England, he has taught the England squad, I have NEVER seen anyone do a japanese form as good as him, and man can`t he hit !! . As a Multi styles examiner, he invited me after waiting a further 4 years almost, to test for Nidan, which was 2nd Dan, only difference would be , i would be in front of a high ranking grading panel, and tested on everything, Kenpo and Ju Jitsu, This was to ensure what we had established as Karitsu, was to a standard expected from a 2nd Dan Black Belt . I passed 2nd Dan, in December 2006.
SO we emigrated from the Uk in November 2008, My wife Tracey (Also a mean kenpoist) daughters Lorren and Casey, Lorren started Kenpo when she was 4 , over 10 years ago.
We have settled in Sellicks Beach, and as there is not a lot here for children, I decided to get back to what I love doing, and open a kenpo school, however, all the effort put back in the UK, would be lost in a new country, I felt we needed an identity, and as we had made such a major change in our lives, get back on the Kenpo journey, this way we won`t have to re invent the wheel.
During the late 1990s to early 2002, we were affiliated with the AKKS , back in the Uk, for what ever reason our instructors decided to change associations, so left the AKKS, when we moved to Oz, i checked out the kenpo scene, and Jeff Speakmans name started popping up around australia and new zealand, so i made the contact, finally reaching mr. Speakmans representetive for australia, David Goivenco, As we had not long arrived in Australia I thought rather than re invent the wheel we would try out the Kenpo 5.0. Problem was, Mr Speakman had removed a 1/3 changed a 1/3 and kept a 1/3 of Ed parkers syllabus,and after over 20 years I couldnt invest the time required to learn a whole new syllabus, which involved trips interstate and to Vegas . I also was not ready to be involved in a franchise with then, only a handfull of students.
In 2010 we joined the International Budo Federation, no polotics, no ego`s and no contracts, with offices around the world and very well respected with high ranking martial artists in so many arts, we can rest assured through our friend and Director for Australia Mr, Kym Reid we have expert advice and tuition on hand anytime. I have been fortunate to teach at IBF Martial arts open days. I was tested by the IBF for 3rd Dan. in July 2011. this time in front of a 10th Dan and 6th Dan. Kym Reid added, the amount of knowledge and quality of instruction and Technique shown, was of a higher standard than some higher ranking grades he had seen. (check out the video clip).
I have met some fabulous people along the way, competed in competitions throughout europe, I am looking forward to meeting my family i never knew i had on this, the other side of the world
My Journey continues.
SEPTEMBER 26th 2014, PROMOTED TO 4TH DAN BLACK BELT, AFTER HOLDING THE RANK OF BLACK BELT FOR 12 YEARS.
RECEIVING 4th DAN BY IBF VICE PRESIDENT, Mr Reid has held a black belt ever since I began training..
In the UK, In the early days, we would have green/brown and Black Belt clases 1 hour before the main class would start, I never understood why the curtains in the hall were always drawn, the door was shut, until now. Many dedicated years of knowledge trusted to our instructor direct from Mr Parker, would be shared cautiously to us. After many many years of Loyal training the information was shared. Information that took years to gain, from visiting Mr Parker where ever he was in the world, that was the only way our instructors could gain first hand from him. Once Mr Parker Passed away, there were those claiming to know it all, and those that actually did, I have since realised the value of what I personally have, and how or who I share it all with, I dont claim to know it all, not by a long shot, but I value what I do have. I now understand the meaning of ," when you are ready".. it is certainly not about the destination, but the Journey. The longer the Journey takes, the more you will see and learn.
The Testing of myself and our students is in Kenpo Karitsu. We have added to the kenpo system and evolved exactly as Mr Parker intended.