Congratulations to Sensei Ivan Birch & Ian Willis

Shotokan Connect is proud to announce the promotion of Sensei Ivan Birch and Ian Willis to 7th Dan. Please join us in celebrating their well-deserved achievement of Shichidan.


This prestigious Dan grade was awarded by the Executive and QA Committees of Shotokan Connect and marks a major step forward in the growth and confidence of the association. Congratulations to both of these inspirational, talented and respected karateka.

Sensei Ivan Birch

An established and senior instructor at Red Lion Karate Club in Eastbourne, Sensei Birch offers over 40 years of dedicated karate experience.

Between starting his karate journey in 1975, grading for his 6th Dan in 2014 and taking on the position of chairperson of Shotokan Connect, Sensei Ivan:

  • Is a qualified senior instructor, judge and referee
  • Was a member of the KUGB Executive Committee and Chairman of KUGB Southern Region for over 20 years
  • Had a successful kata and kumite competition career
  • Is a founder member of Shotokan Connect
Sensei Ian Willis

Having become a professional karate instructor in 1981, Sensei Willis offers over 40 years of dedicated karate experience.

As an established and senior instructor of the Northumberland Karate Academy (NKA) in Ashington, Sensei Ian:

  • Teaches 13 classes a week across 7 clubs
  • Achieved his 6th Dan over 10 years ago
  • Had a successful national and international competition career in kata and kumite
  • Offered early and comprehensive support of Shotokan Connect during the formulation of the association

Congratulations again to you both. This is an incredible achievement for you both personally and marks a major step forward in the evolution and continued expansion of Shotokan Connect.