Karate Union of Great Britain

Insight and Background into Bob Rhodes' Karate Career

Bob Rhodes was born in Leeds, North Yorkshire on 3rd March 1946.

As a keen cricket, rugby and football player at school, Bob was so busy that he didn't discover he was suited to karate until the age of 20. Not satisfied with joining any old club Bob decided to join Leeds Shotokan Karate Club (Leeds SKC) then run by the England International Ronnie Wade.

Bob Rhodes (holding the football) captain of the football team

Bob Rhodes (right) winning the individual kumite at the Northern Regional Championships with a sweep followed by reverse punch. Sensei Enoeda to the left refereeing.

Bob had previously done some boxing and when he first graded in karate he went straight to green belt.

As a green belt he first started competing at the K.U.G.B. Great Britain National Championships where as a member of the Leeds SKC kumite team they came second.

Later Bob won the individual events at the Northern Regional Championships several times for both kata and kumite and also team events. Bob achieved finals positions in the G.B. Nationals for kata and kumite and Bob was a member of the team that won the team kumite in 1973. During this time Bob Rhodes achieved a position on the England Karate Squad.

Bob Rhodes in his own dojo in Dock Street, Leeds 1990

For 8 years Bob was a member of both the K.U.G.B. National Squad and the Great Britain All-Karate Styles Squad for which the best fighters were chosen from all the different Karate styles for the entire country.

As a 1st Dan, Bob Rhodes took over the teaching of the Leeds Shotokan Karate Club when Ronnie Wade retired. What makes his career all the more remarkable is that he has by his own means progressed to the standard he has.

When Bob was in the K.U.G.B. team it was coached by Sensei Enoeda, the Chief European Instructor. The team was successful in winning many International and European team kumite events and in participating in World Championships.

Bob represented the K.U.G.B. in the Great Britain All-Styles Championships where as a member of the kumite team they won several times. In the G.B. All-Styles Championships individual kumite events Bob achieved distinguished 2nd and 3rd placings.


Bob Rhodes (left) with Enoeda Sensei (right). Sensei Rhodes was often seen training at Crystal Palace with his seniors such as Enoeda and Tabata Sensei. The last time Sensei Rhodes trained at Crystal Palace with Tabata Sensei, Tabata Sensei before starting the class walked over to Sensei Rhodes and infront of the senior class, gave Sensei Rhodes a deep bow. Such mutual respect is often taken for granted these days. Sadly both Tabata and Enoeda Sensei passed away a couple of years ago.

Bob Rhodes (centre) pictured with Billy Higgins (left) and Terry O'Neill (right) as World Kumite Champions

For the Great Britain All-Styles Team, coached by Sensei S. Arneal, Bob was again successful with the kumite team in coming first in many International events versus France, Japan and Sweden as examples.

With the same team he was also successful in European and World team kumite events. Bob's International career culminated in victory when he was part of the kumite squad that beat Japan to win the World Championships in Long Beach, California in 1975 at the age of 29.

After retiring from International competition Bob was elected Northern Regional Officer for the K.U.G.B. where he was responsible for organising competitions, courses and teaching the Regional Squad.

Bob dedicated his time to the KUGB as Northern Regional Officer for 15 years.

Bob Rhodes coach of the Northern Regional Squad. This was a team which acted as a spring board for students to get into the National Squad, coached by Enoeda Sensei and Sensei Sherry. Sensei Rhodes' Northern Regional Squad was known to be a hard fighting session.

Sensei Bob Rhodes (centre) with his best Leeds students performing the demonstration at the National Karate Championships at Crystal Palace around 1980. The demonstration was of a multi person attack to a packed Crystal Palace.

Bob became one of eight K.U.G.B. grading examiners in the 1970s qualified to grade up to 1st Kyu.

In 2004 Bob was asked to become a black belt grading examiner on some of the KUGB National Courses, a position only held by 6 people within the UK .

Bob is also a member of the K.U.G.B. technical committee, responsible for discussing and making decisions on technical aspects of Karate.

Many years ago Bob achieved the position of 6th Dan within the K.U.G.B.

Bob has had many teaching successes, including being Squad Coach for the Scottish Squad for a year and giving courses all over Europe.

Sensei Bob Rhodes teaching in Israel

Sensei Bob Rhodes (centre) pictured in the Leeds University Dojo. Sensei Rhodes grew the Leeds University club to more than 100 students over the 30 years that he was Chief Instructor. He is very proud of the achievements that the students have made.

In Leeds, Sensei Rhodes was Chief Instructor of the Leeds Shotokan Karate Club for 30 years as well as the Leeds University Karate Club. At the peak of karate in this country he was teaching 13 lessons per week at his 2 clubs.

As Chief Instructor of the Leeds Karate Clubs, Bob's teaching has brought his students much success. He and his students dominated regional and national competitions for many decades. It is this evidence of his teaching which gives credibility to its effectiveness.


Within his Leeds Shotokan Karate Club Bob has produced many International Competitors including for example, Sean Roberts National Kata Champion many years running and European Kata Champion, Randolph Williams winner of the Shotokan Cup, Caroline Quancer, Vivian Roland, Nick Heald and Matthew Price KUGB Grand Champion, all of which have been England Internationals.

At one time Sensei Rhodes had 6 squad members training under him at one time, remember this was in the days of 30 people on the squad nationally.

Sean Roberts, one of Sensei Rhodes' students for 20 years. National Kata Champion as junior and senior, European Individual Kata Champion.

Bob is also one of the senior instructors on the Torbay and Lancaster annual residential Karate courses attended by over 100 karateka for the last 20 years. To find out who these Sensei are take a look here and here.

Sensei Rhodes was highly regarded in karate by Sensei Enoeda especially his ability to referee to an exceptional standard. Here Sensei Rhodes is refereeing the Finals of the World Shotokan Karate Championships in Prague 2001, Enoeda Sensei is sat behind to the right. Sensei Rhodes' ability to make accurate decisions in a split second so that the fight can continue uninterrupted is one of the skills of which Enoeda Sensei often spoke. Inparticular the accuracy of the split second decision is what counts in a World Championship Referee.

Bob is a National, European and World Championship Referee, responsible for refereeing the finals in many of these competitions.


Bob Rhodes is now residing in Towcester, Northants.

To make a booking or find out more, email info@BobRhodesKarate.com, or visit the club or national courses for training.


Selina Farwell
5th October 2004
Goshougake Club Secretary


Some Photos

Sensei Rhodes performing a flying kekomi or flying thrust kick on 2nd Kyu John Russell. Thought originally to be designed to knock a man from his horse, here the demo is used to show technique and athleticism.

That evening, 3rd May 1981, Sensei Rhodes had been guest instructor/grading examiner at The Rising Sun Shotokan Karate Club, Killamarsh, Derbyshire and some of the karateka are pictured underneath the kick. Sensei Rhodes is still a regular instructor for special courses and gradings at the club which is now located at Satori Shotokan K.C., Queen's Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield.

Photograph taken in Tokyo, Japan outside the British Embassy in 1977.

Sensei Rhodes is stood on the left and for keen karateka the two gentlemen pictured next to him should need no introduction. Pictured centre is Nakayama Sensei with Enoeda Sensei to the right.