Sadly Sensei Tony Conroy 8th Dan, who served as our Chief Instructor since the inception of the club passed away on 24th January 2021. Karate was his life, and the dojo was where he felt most at home.
When Kokoro Shotokan Karate was formed in 2017, we approached Sensei Conroy to be our Chief Instructor. Our Senior Instructor Sensei Paul Cooper had graded Sandan with Sensei Conroy in 2016 and he approached Tony who immediately agreed, considering the request an honour and promised to support the club in its future endeavors.
He considered a compliment that we modelled our badge on the Conroy Karate Group badge and luckily, he also liked it.
For us it made the club complete, Sensei Paul achieved his Shodan with Asano sensei who was Tony’s regular instructor in the late sixties. That connection was certainly very important.
The support we received from Sensei Conroy was fantastic with many seminars and surprise visits from him at our Cardiff dojo. His knowledge and experience were invaluable in the development of the club, his lessons were challenging and tough, as were his gradings as our Instructors Martin and Mark will testify.
Tony started Martial Arts training in September 1963 at the age of fourteen. His initial involvement was with Ju Jitsu and Aikido, both of which he studied at the Leicester Martial Arts Club where he graded Shodan in Ju Jitsu.
In 1965, he commenced Wado Ryu karate training, and a short time later started training in Shotokan karate, being graded to Shodan by Enoeda sensei in 1974.
Sensei Conroy continued to be graded by Enoeda until Sandan, where he achieved the grade at the infamous Red Triangle Club in Liverpool.
In 1992 Tony visited Japan and trained at several clubs in the Kobe area. His instructors there were Sakai Sensei, Fujita Sensei and Tsura Sensei. This was an excellent and exciting experience and led to him beginning to study the Japanese language as a cultural complement to his Martial Arts training.
Sensei Conroy’s commitment to Martial Arts has had a direct impact on his students. many of whom have subsequently gone on to open clubs. It is this sharing and widening of the understanding of Martial Arts which is so important to the healthy development and growth of clubs in this country.
Tony was so generous with his time, our Senior Instructor Sensei Paul Cooper was lucky enough to have spent five days one on one training with him in February 2020 at his home dojo, he learned so much, not only about karate but about Tony’s life and other passions including his strong belief in family first – karate will always be there.
At Kokoro Shotokan Karate we are part of his legacy, we are proud to have been his students and honoured and privileged to have known him.