The founder of a Jersey Kenpo karate school has been named as one of the most influential figures in the sport.
Graham Lelliott was awarded the title of Senior Master at a Kenpo karate camp at Wonder Valley Ranch in Sanger, California.
He received the honour in front of some his own students and other students in his lineage – the direct line of instructors and teachers that karate knowledge flows through – who had travelled to the USA for the occasion.
Graham said that the Senior Master title is the "final step in recognition for a lifetime of teaching in the Martial Arts".
He explained: "The rank of Master suggests that you have mastered your understanding and teaching skills, i.e. understanding the concepts, theories and principles of the art and being able to provide definition for all of the above.
"You should also be prepared to step outside the comfort zone of your school or Dojo and spread your teachings around the world or as far as possible (unfortunately too often not the case).
"Senior Master is basically a recognition that you have a good understanding of these skills and are able to and have had the abilities to help others in their communities."
In Kenpo karate, practitioners are given titles along with belts, with Master titles at the very top. The title of Senior Master is associated with a 10th degree black belt.
Pictured: Graham Lelliott (centre) with members of a brown and black belt karate class.
As the founder of GL Kenpo, Graham is a leading figure in the discipline and was inducted into the Kenpo Karate Hall of Fame last year.
Graham started his karate career in Jersey in 1973, following the footsteps of his late brother who was training with the Irish Senior Master Maurice Mahon.
Though he has since moved to California to teach, he has established himself as a leading figure in the discipline, with several schools in Australia directly under his lineage.
He has also taught across Europe, South America, Hawaii, Ireland and New Zealand.
Graham got his first Black Belt grading in 1980 – awarded to him directly by the "father of Kenpo karate", Senior Grand Master Ed Parker.
Neil Roberts – founder of Qantum Kenpo in St. Saviour, and a student of Graham's – was in attendance at the ceremony last week when Graham received his Senior Master title.
In a Facebook post, Neil congratulated him and wrote: "He brings out the best of every single individual he meets. He creates a unique bond to each and every single person that no one else can do or recreate.
"So congratulations on everything you have achieved and on your 10th degree black belt. I am truly humbled to have you as my teacher but more importantly my friend."
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