Best karate club in Derby and the East Midlands

After 8 years training with Mark Rotherham at MRKD in Melbourne, Castle Donington and Kegworth, I can safely say that any child, teen or adult will get a lot out of Sensei Mark’s karate classes.

(Probably) South-Derbyshire’s best karate club

Why is it so good, and why do I want to let folks know?

Because I’m not the only one to recognise Mark’s great work. He has won community awards locally, as well as his wife Mandy, also a blackbelt, who runs a local nursery. And he never speaks about any of that, nor promotes his club widely enough online.

He’s fair, thoughtful and helps anyone that comes to get up to speed. It’s not for a lot of people, sometimes the commitment being too much, but with a free lesson offered everyone can try it out. There’s a lot to be had from karate practice if you can stick it out.

Classes well worth travelling to - a typical lesson

After bowing-in and warming up, we usually do some ‘up and down the room’ individual move practice. Here we work on our technique and fitness as we warm up for the second part. We usually finish by practicing katas, forms containing dozens of moves in sequence, designed to work on self-discipline and stances. These ancient Japanese and Chinese katas can leave some cold, while others love them. It’s a part of karate that everyone has to deal with, but it is not all there is to it.

We then usually move on to self-defence, learning various techniques to escape common street attacks and how to safely defend and counter-attack these. Attacks can involve standard grabs and punches, from any direction, up to knife and gun attacks, with rubber replicas available. We occasionally practice nunchuks, which always brings a smile to people’s faces.

We then finish with half an hour of sparring. This involves no-contact (for children) or light contact (adults) to simulate defending and attacking through everything previously learned. We practice what we call ‘pulling’ our attacks, where if there was room left to extend the arm or leg to full contact, you would have ‘scored’ the hit.

Everyone is respectful, nobody gets hurt, and most people enjoy the speed and mindfulness of dodging flying limbs, and counterattacking when an opportunity opens.

As a bonus, every now and then Mark will organise a seminar with a top Japanese or British karate sensei - those are not to be missed.


Mark teaches respect and discipline, as well as promoting good health and social awareness. After 8 years of training I can honestly say he has been a consistently caring and expert teacher to the hundreds that have passed through his courses, and those who are still training.

Find out more

For more detail, visit the MRKD site where you can find the class times and locations under the ‘Venues’ tab. That link should take you straight there.

<bow>Hopefully see you in class!</bow>

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Filed under: Karate  |  hobby

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