Kyoshi Arnold Allen is not a man one should seek to pick a fight with.
On the other hand, to have him as a friend offers great value in terms of one safety and security.
Allen, who has formerly been employed as a regimental police officer and security guard is a 9th degree black belt in Sanuces Ryu Jujitsu and a fifth degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.
With 41 years of teaching martial arts, with his current station being at the Harto Dojo on Cobb’s Hill, Allen is proficient in defence and attack, whether it be unarmed or with weapons.
However, rather than actual fighting, Allen now more so enjoys the teaching aspect.
“As time goes on you don’t even realize that you enjoy teaching young people and seeing the benefits that they got from it,” said Allen recently, as his school celebrate its 41-year anniversary. “I have students that are pilots now. I have students that are lawyers now.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about producing leaders in this country and Bermuda needs leaders.”
And Allen has had some challenging students to instruct, with one in particular who stood out a “hard nut to crack”, but ended up as a great success story.
“I’ve had quite a few who have turned into very good students,” said Allen. “Like Zachary Nesbitt, who was one of my first black belts and one of my first champions.
“Not too many have come after him, who were as hard as him, but there have been a few successes in the black belts.”
All good things come to an end and the martial arts master is preparing to pass the baton.
“Going forward I just hope that someone comes after me and keeps on with what we’re doing,” he said. “We started a new karate federation BKF and we’re trying to be more professional in the karate scene and more standardized by the WKF, which is the World Karate Federation and applying their rules using their kit, which is mandatory, so that’s where we’re going.
“We want to see karate students have scholarships just like football, tennis and every other sport that’s catching scholarships, where these athletes in the karate can go to colleges University play for their teams and come back and still represent Bermuda on the national team, so that’s what we’re looking at.
“I see me passing it on very shortly. I see myself concentrating on the administrative side and letting everybody else do some teaching.”
Asked how his students match up with those from the more traditional martial arts countries in Asia, Allen said that he believes they can be equitable if the dedication is there.
“I think that making it possible for them to compete is the thing right now, getting them the exposure” he said. “If they can have a seven-year-old black belt that is top line then why can’t we?
“But, like I always tell my parents of my students, it’s not the student that quits it’s always the parent that quits first, expecting their child to be more advanced than they really are, so we need to just give them their space and allow them to grow at their own pace.
“One thing we try to emphasize is the importance of education.
“Once you find students that are keen about learning it makes it easy.
“When you look at a young man that loves martial art and you teach him that it’s all right to make mistakes and ask questions when they don’t know, then they start to apply it in their everyday school life.
“And then you see them going from being just an average student to being on the honour role, to being the head boy and all that type of stuff, so it’s real it’s really important and I find martial arts, karate and good teachers being an asset to the community of Bermuda.
Allen said that anyone wishing to find out more about his school can come to the Harto Ryu Dojo on Cobb’s Hill, where they have self-defence classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, karate classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Sundays there is personal training.
“One can come by and just stop by and look at the class, ask questions and don’t be afraid to see that we’re really strict with our students and stuff like that, but ask questions.
The school has a website which is www.hatoryu.com as well as an email: Hartoryu1@gmail.com
Ph: (441) 532-2416
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