Sensei Rob Willis 5th Dan

Contact Details

Personal Profile

ESA Secretary
ESA Executive and Technical Committee Member
ESA National Grading Examiner
KSKA Member


Sensei Rob Willis began training in Martial Arts in Jan 1979, studying Ju-Jitsu under Ken Chisholm in Southport.

By the end of the year Rob had switched to Shotokan Karate under former British Champion, Sensei Steve Cattle. Rob passed 1st Dan with the KUGB under Sensei Enoeda at Crystal Palace in 1986 and progressed to 2nd Dan, passing under Steve Cattle with the ESA in 1993. Rob then graded under the head of the Kase Ryu Academy, Sensei Dirk Heene, attaining 3rd Dan in 1996, 4th Dan in 2001, before eventually progressing to 5th Dan.

Rob has travelled the length and breadth of Britain, and into Europe, to gain access to training under some of the world’s top Shotokan instructors, including from Japan, Sensei Kase, Sensei Enoeda, Sensei Kawasoe, Sensei Shirai, Sensei Kanazawa, Sensei Murakami, Sensei Ohta, Sensei Yahara, and from other styles Sensei Morio Higaonna (Okinawan Goju Ryu) and Sensei Keiji Tomiyama (Shito Ryu). Rob has also benefited from regularly training under some of the top European and British Instructors, including Sensei Derek Ridgway (7th Dan), Sensei Julian Mead (6th Dan) and Sensei Dirk Heene (8th Dan).

Rob entered his first tournament in 1981 and took his first medal placing in 1982. Since then he has taken numerous placings in Regional, National and Open events, finally retiring after the ESA Nationals in October 2005, where he still managed to take two podium wins. In 2012 Rob returned to tournament karate, fighting in the West Lancs team to win the BSK Team Kumite title, and in doing so extended his competition success to a thirty year span, covering four separate decades.

In 2004 he was invited to join the Shotokan Ryu Kase Ha European Instructors Academy and the ESA Technical Committee. A Grading Examiner and Referee, Rob is also an EKGB and NCF qualified Coach, with formal teaching qualifications. In 2006 Rob was named as Sefton Council’s Sports Coach of the year and was a runner up for Merseyside Coach of the Year in the same year. Further to his traditional karate background Rob is also a former Police Self-Defence Instructor and author of two self-defence books, along with having written for various Martial Arts publications.

  • E.K.G.B. Qualified Coach
  • Sports Coach UK Member
  • Sefton Sports Council ‘Coach of the Year’ 2006
  • Merseyside ‘Coach of the Year’ Runner Up 2006
  • Former Police Defensive Tactics Trainer