The Organisation

The Grampian and Northern Karate Association (GNKA) was formed in 1985 by Sensei Brian Bothwell 7th Dan. Brian has been training in karate for over 40 years and is the president and chief instructor for the organisation. He is also an SKGB (Scottish Karate Governing Body) approved and ratified grading examiner.

The association is one of the largest karate organisations in Scotland with members spread throughout the North East. The GNKA has many clubs in the region including: Aberdeen, Portlethen, Inverbervie, Inverurie, Stonehaven, Ellon, Fraserburgh etc.

dan gradings

Dan Gradings

Senior Dan (Black Belt) gradings are performed by Sensei Dirk Heene 8th Dan WKSA. Sensei Heene is the top European instructor of the Shotokan-Ryu-Kase-Ha Academy and teaches karate worldwide. He is also a former European Kata champion.

The GNKA is directly affiliated to, and governed by, the Scottish Karate Governing Body (SKGB). The SKGB is the only body within karate to be set up by national government to control the organisation and development of karate in Scotland.

The SKGB is also the only body within karate to be recognised by Sport Scotland.


The aims of the GNKA are to develop the teachings of Gichin Funakoshi (the founder of Shotokan karate) within the north east of Scotland. The GNKA also aims to develop Shotokan karate with the modern mind whilst maintaining the essence of pure tradition.

Shotokan is one of the most dynamic and powerful forms of karate; Speed and power are developed through the use of long and low stances in training, allowing constant tension on the muscles and flexibility in the joints. All techniques practised at a lower level (up to five years training) are large and emphasise the use of the whole body. The emphasis on large techniques is particularly suitable for developing power and speed. At a more advanced level, smaller techniques and impact training are introduced to complement the fighting skills required to address all situations of confrontation, whether it be one or a number of opponents or opponents with weapons.


Training is split into three separate sections: Kihon, Kata and Kumite.

KIHON – Basic fighting combinations used to develop; speed, power, technique, distance and timing.

KATA – Set fighting forms used to develop fighting skills required to address different fighting situations.

KUMITE – Set fighting sequences or free fighting with one or a number of opponents.