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I have been training in the Martial Arts since the age of 10, with 40+ years experience and have been an Instructor for over 30 years. I started Shotokan Karate in 1972 under Tommy Morris, 7 th Degree Black Belt, who is one of the top Karate Instructors in the country. I achieved my brown Belt, one belt away from Black. I then left to take up Taekwondo as I was very impressed with the kicking techniques.
I joined the KI HA RHEE Academy in Glasgow, the headquarters for International Taekwondo, and trained under Master Rhee 7 th Degree Black Belt, second in command to General Choi Hong Hee, founder of Taekwondo and the most respected Taekwondo Master in the world. There I achieved 4 th degree Black Belt and became Scottish and British Champion as well as an international Instructor and referee.
I went on to train many champions of my own and opened the first Taekwondo School in Bournemouth. Many of the Taekwondo Instructors today have all been my students and have achieved theft' Black Belts under myself.

In 1989 I met Collin Sherred and Phil Norman who introduced me to Jeet Kune Do and Jun Fan Kickboxing. I was very impressed with the variety of Arts and techniques, especially the Kali with its superb weapon skills. We started to exchange techniques, as they were equally impressed by my fast flowing kicking ability. So I got to improve my boxing and empty hands and they improved their kicking skills.

I went out to the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles to train under Guru Dan Inosanto in Bruce Lees Art of Jeet Kune Do. I trained there for two months, five hours a day, six days a week. I was hooked on J.K.D. - it had everything - kicking, boxing, trapping, grappling and weapons. I became very efficient in Tae Boxing, Wingchun, Brazilian Jujitsu, Kali, Savate boxing and many other Arts.

I moved onto New Zealand where my brother worked in the maximum Security prison in Auckland. I became their unarmed combat instructor for the New Zealand prison service. I also helped run the local Taekwondo Club.

After a year and a half I moved back to Bournemouth to help run the school of Fighting Arts with the late Collin Sherred and Phil Norman, who is one of the highest ranked instructors under Dan Inosanto. Phil is one of only five full Instructors in Britain under Guru Dan Inosanto.

I started Southcoast Kickboxing and J.K.D. Club in 1993 at Fitness First Health club where it was based for 12 years. I also joined the Bob Breen Academy of Jeet Kune Do where I became an Instructor under Bob and a member of Jeet Kune Do International. Bob Breen is the highest ranked Instructor in Europe under Guru Inosanto and is one of the most influential instructors in Kali and Jeet Kune Do. As well as training with Bob Breen I have trained with some of the best people in the world of Martial Arts such as Rick Faye, Mark McFan, Eric Poulsen, Richard Bistilo (Bruce Lees student), Larry Hartsell (Bruce Lees Student), Master Chai (8 times world Thai boxing champion), Mark Denny (founder of the Dog Brothers), Neil Adams (world and Olympic Judo Champion), Rick Young, Terry Barnett, Ralph Jones, Master Danny Guba (10 th Degree Kali/Eskrima), and Master Pableo (9 th Degree Kali/Eskrima).

I have taken my knowledge and motivation from all these great people listed above.

At present, I am level 3 Instructor under Guru Bob Breen who I have trained under for 8 years. I am one of the longest established Martial Arts Clubs in Bournemouth and have trained many of the existing Instructors who are around today in Jeet kune Do, Kickboxing and Taekwondo. I am very proud of all these people who have become very good Martial Artists and Instructors as well as champions in the ring. Such as Keith James (runs the Keith James Academy of Martial Arts), John Farrah, Dean Griffiths, James Wilks (teaches in America and is currently cage fighting). Mick Bright, Natalie Bee (Fighting Fit Martial Arts), Keith Evans (6 th Dan Taekwondo Bournemouth Club), Mark Ford (4 th Dan Taekwondo New Milton Club), Sean Bradley (Poole Taekwondo Club), Mark Pike (Poole Judo Club), Mo Karbo (Thai Fit Kickboxing Club), Glen Lewis (Wai KR Thai boxing club), Angelo Baldissone (6 th Dan Karate New Milton Kyusho-Jitsu Club).

I am very proud to have turned out many good competitors and champions such as Mo Karbo who won two Southern Area Titles under myself and then went on to win British, European and World titles with my student Keith James. Fighters also include James Meade who won the WKU Southern Area Title, Duncan Ford who won the WKU southern Area Title and Natalie Bee who won the WKU British Ladies Title. These are the achievements of Southcoast Kickboxing Club over many years and will continue to achieve many more things in the future. The Club has a great history and a great reputation for high standards, being very professional and being very friendly. I have been a full time Martial Arts Instructor and Personal Fitness Trainer and sports Therapist for 7 years. I run classes every evening in three different areas, Poole, Bournemouth and New Milton. I also offer one to one sessions in Martial Arts, Fitness Training and Sports Injuries.

Martial Arts has been my life and I am grateful to all the people who have given me the knowledge I have today. There are many martial Arts Clubs out there and it can be difficult to choose which one to go to.

All I say is that from my 34 years experience, do not look at how good the Instructor is but look at how good that Instructor can make you. That is the difference between a good Martial Artist and a good Martial Arts Instructor.

James Cowan.

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