BARRY Kyokushin Karate Club has been running out of the Vale since 1978 and we are approaching our 42nd anniversary next week.

We planned to celebrate with a big national tournament and a party, but the world had different plans for us!

The club celebrates its birthday with the chief instructor, Sensei Phill Sedgmond, who took over Barry Kyokushin in 2012 from Sensei Richard Males.

Sensei Richard is the man who brought Kyokushin to Barry. The club was opened in Merthyr Dyfan Church Hall and has seen tens of thousands of people pass through their doors.

The club currently has approximately 150 students, from age 4 to 74! There is no barrier when it comes to training with Barry Kyokushin.

As well as training, Barry Kyokushin members have several opportunities of competing too. Students can take part in several tournaments a year and can compete internationally too. In fact, members of Barry Kyokushin are on Team GB and compete around the World several times a year.

Members compete in knockdown, which is a full contact fighting style, and kata, which is a series of complicated movements.

At their last international tournament, Barry Kyokushin came home with three 2nd place positions.

They have not only seen success abroad, but nationally too. At the last National tournament Barry Kyokushin competed in, we came away with 19 Welsh Champions, and a multitude of other podium positions too.

This time last year we opened our full-time Dojo in the town centre of Barry. We absolutely love sharing our knowledge and teaching as many people as we can.

Instructors Sensei Phill and Senpai Rhian threw everything they had at the centre and now teach for over 20 hours a week.

As well as teaching at the centre, Sensei Phill works with the Vale of Glamorgan with the schools around the Vale, and with different support groups in the Vale of Glamorgan council. These groups aim to improve the confidence and wellbeing of members and has a great success rate.

The Corona virus and lockdown came as a shock to the club. In our history, we have never closed our doors before. However, even in lockdown, the club is staying open and busy, but we have taken all our classes online instead.

We call this our DijiDojo. All lessons are conducted over Zoom, an online platform that allows us to see, hear and interact with all our students.

We also have a closed group on Facebook where over 40 video lessons and tutorials have been uploaded, as well as weekly challenges to win prizes (which will be handed out after lockdown)! The Zoom lessons have been an absolute success.

Classes have been split by grade and age, and have been packed full of fun and learning, on both sides of the screen! Sensei Phill and Senpai Rhian are learning to adapt their teaching and training methods for learning over the internet. Some of it has been trial and error, but all of it has been good fun.

When lockdown initially hit, we were very worried about the centre... it hadn’t been open for a year yet and we knew that this could cost us the building, but the support and encouragement we’ve had from out students and families has been tremendous.

They have truly supported us through this period, and we could not be more grateful for the community that we have created.

The parents have mentioned that their kids are feeling bit concerned and nervous about the virus, and about lockdown, but that the training we are providing has been great in helping them get back a bit of normality, keep their schedules on track, and keep them positive.

We think it’s really important to keep the kids engaging in positive activities, and we’re glad that the lessons are able to help so much.

We think everyone is looking forward to being back in the dojo, but everyone is keeping their spirits up and are training hard.

One of the other problems we have encountered, due to lockdown, is the number of events that we have unfortunately had to miss/will miss in the future.

This year alone we have missed 4 European Championships, 2 National Championships, 2 Interclubs, a Summer Camp and an Awards Night. This is a big disappointment to all of our members, but the safety of our students is our number one priority.

All events scheduled for this year, will be rescheduled for 2021, and we cannot wait to get the ball rolling again!

We are hoping to be back in training very soon, as 2021 is already looking to be another fantastic year for the club.

As soon as lockdown is over, Barry Kyokushin will be opening its doors to old and new members. If you’d like to support Barry Kyokushin, you can find us on Facebook under, or find us online at