The following is a brief resume of Sensei Needham's training history:
Started training in 1981 under Sensei Mike Tose - 3rd Dan at Manchester College of Building and Salford University Clubs, and was a member of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB).
Whilst at college Colin joined Partington Skotokan Karate Club and trained under the instruction of Sensei Mike Ford - 1st Dan, it was here that he met Sensei George Best and they still remain good friends.
Took his first grading in December 1981 under Sensei Andy Sherry and double graded, took all subsequent Kyu grade examinations under Sensei Enoeda - achieving 1st Kyu in early 1984. Attempted Shodan under Sensei Andy Sherry in June 1985, but was not successful;
Colin quotes "it was no bad thing looking back, it actually makes you appreciate things more when you finally achieve something and you've had to work really hard for it".
During the following year, whilst preparing to re-take Shodan, he broke his leg, this caused an enforced lay-off from training for approx 6 months. He started training again during 1987 but unfortunately Partington SKC was having difficulty getting a regular venue/dojo and coupled with a move to new area and studying he decided to look for a new club.
At the start of 1988, after watching and training with various local clubs, Colin joined Red Sun Shotokan Karate club in Swinton, under the instruction of Sensei Malcolm Johnson, 3rd Dan. Colin chose this club as opposed to the various others because the standard of both the instructor and the students was very good - in short, it was a traditional karate club, with good etiquette and good technique.
"The training sessions were often hard and intensive and the atmosphere in the dojo was brilliant, you could feel the spirit".
Red Sun were affiliated to Jin Sei Kai, headed by Sensei Paul Perry, a direct student of Kanazawa Sensei. It was here that Colin was introduced to the syllabus devised by Hirokazu Kanazawa Sensei which was much more comprehensive than he had been taught before.
After learning the syllabus requirements, Colin successfully passed Shodan under Sensei Perry in 1990. He continued training under the Instruction of Sensei Johnson and passed Nidan in 1993 and Sandan in 1997. Colin passed his Yondan examination in 2002.
At the end of 1999, Sensei Johnson retired from running Red Sun Karate, Colin was asked to take over running the club as he was the highest grade.
At the start of 2003 following a meeting of the Senior grades from Red Sun Karate, it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the club to leave Jin Sei Kai. Red Sun Karate affiliated to Cobra Martial Arts Association, who are a national supporting body for multi-styles of martial arts groups/clubs, and this suited us fine.
In October 2007 Colin was awarded Godan, 5th Dan, by Andrew Morrell, founder and President of Cobra Martial Arts Association, and it was a nice surprise that the club asked Sensei Johnson to come and present Colin with his Godan certificate.
During a holiday in New York at the start of 2012 Colin took the opportunity to train with Sensei Richard Amos at the WTKO Head Quarters. Richard Amos is one of the few non Japanese graduates of the JKA (Japan Karate Association) Instructors Training Programme and is an instructor of the highest calibre. Later that year afer training several more times under Amos Sensei, Colin asked to affiliate to the WTKO and official joined WTKO in 2013. In 2017 Colin was appointed the Technical Director for WTKO England.
In August 2018 Colin successfully passed his 6th Dan Examination infront of the WTKO Executive Committe during their Annual Summer Course in Toronto, Canada.
Over the years Colin has won various competitions in Kata and Kumite, both as an individual competitor and as leader of the Red Sun SKC competition squad - see photo gallery for competition photos
"Little did I know all those years ago just how involved I would become with this club.
When Sensei Johnson decided to retire from running the club in 1999 and the remaining members ask me to take charge I had no idea just what it would involve and how it would change my life.
I am very proud of how the club has grown and of the standard of all my students. My personal success isn't how well I can do kicks or punches anymore, or how many kata I know, but in seeing students progress - and the satisfaction of seeing a student develop and grow through the grades.
The club is still growing, we have over a hundred members, and I often feel humbled that I have such a fantastic group of people who come and train with me every week. To all of you and the fantastic parents who have in many cases also become good friends, thank you all so much.
Looking back over what is now 39 years of training - and more precisely studying karate, I can honestly say that my passion for Karate is only growing stronger.
I have had the privilege of training with and learning from, some of the most inspirational and talented instructors in the UK and I hope that I can continue to pass on that knowledge and enthusiasm to my students, and that they too will find as much satisfaction from training that I have and still do.
I currently teach 5 times a week and try to get to a least 2 training sessions a week were I can just train "as part of the line". I also run a couple of time a week for stamina training.
Oh, and for the juniors completing the Easter Quiz - my favorite kata is Unsu :-)
Of all the instructors I have been fortunate to train with it is easily Sensei Malcolm Johnson who has played the largest part in shaping my karate over the last 20 years. Especially in developing my attitude and understanding for continued learning and the way in which I now pass my knowledge on to my own students.
My respect for Sensei Johnson is huge, and I am proud to to have him as my mentor and friend.
I am also really please that I have been able to encourage him to return to teaching as a guest instructor on the last Thursday of each month at WRUFC and I would welcome any past members who would like to come along to come and say hello, or better still, come and train with us, its never to late...
Funakoshi's 11th precept was that Karate training is like boiling water - it is only boiling whilst it is continually heated - never stop training, keep it on the boil.
Colin is a Civil Engineer, working in the Water Industry as an Account Manager for Hach a leading provider of Water Quality Analysis Instruments and Solutions for Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants in the North West of England