The Machi Dojo grew from RAF Uxbridge Karate Club that began in 1980 with the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) and has gone through numerous changes over the years.
The club was originally created to provide training for RAF personnel and their families, funded by the RAF but was also open to the general public. Ken Lyons and his daughter joined as civilians in 1993 and progressed to 4th Kyu (purple & white belt) under the instruction of Sensei Gary Craig. At that time the Club was affiliated to the Karate Union of Great Britain that was probably the most influential Karate Association in the early days. In 1997 Gary decided to retire as an instructor and close the club but Frank Hatton, who was in the RAF and occasionally trained with the club, stepped in to keep it going. Frankie, who was a 1st Dan (black belt) at the time, changed the clubs affiliation to SEKU (the Shotokan of England Karate Union) as that was his own licensed organisation under the watchful eye of Sensei Mick Dewey.
Then just when the future of the club was looking bright again, Frankie was posted to Gibraltar and once again the club was without an instructor. At that time with the club going steadily it was clear to Frankie that a student he had trained as a white belt on and off and who was now a 2nd kyu could easily take the role as instructor. Particularly as the SEKU home dojo was only an hour away in Portsmouth so help and advice was easily come by.
Ken who was a brown belt and with little instructor experience had to take over, immediately began attending Instructors classes and travelled to Portsmouth to train at the SEKU Headquarters with Chief Instructor Sensei Mick Dewey. Ken’s skills and knowledge improved, his confidence grew and he soon attained black belt.
RAF Uxbridge was closed down on 31st March 2010 and reopened at RAF Northolt on 6th April 2010. A few months later Ken opened up a second dojo at Bishopshalt School in Uxbridge.
The Club name had to change and Mach Dojo was chosen as lessons were held at more than one venue in the London Borough of Hillingdon and students would attend at more than one location. ‘Machi’ is a Japanese word meaning Village or Town and the expression Machi Dojo was sometimes used to describe a training hall some distance away from the Master’s Dojo known at ‘Honbu’. With SEKU HQ located in Portsmouth, it seemed right to take the name.
For 7 years, the Machi Dojo was open four nights a week, operating across the borough. The headmaster of Bishopshalt School at the time was David Bocock and he was keen for Ken to take Karate Lessons during PE which became regular events that were fun to do.
In 2020 Norman Benn 1st Dan took over the principal running of the club and in 2023 became the clubs Chief Instructor as Ken took a more supportive role as a visiting instructor to the club.
The standard of Karate at the club is high and that has been established by the results we have achieved at recent competitions. The students train hard and some have taken rewards and recognition over the years. That said, not everybody can be the champion but we can all do our best to maximise our potential.