Karate for Kids in Splott

Kokoro Karate is a traditional Shotokan karate school with a modern approach to practical applications and is based here in Splott.

This week we spoke to Sensei Paul Cooper 4th Dan who has over thirty years of experience, achieving his black belt in 1987 with Hanshi Shiro Asano 9th Dan, who was a direct student of Nakayama, the founder of the JKA.

Training is suitable for children aged ten/eleven years and over. They also allow children (primary school age) by prior agreement to train if a parent or guardian trains as well in the senior class, and they also offer Kokoro Tigers programme that is designed for children from 4/5 (school reception class) to 10/11 years old.

Here’s what Paul had to say:

Inksplott: Hi Paul, thank you for being interviewed for Inksplott.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?

Paul: I started karate when I was ten years old and trained at the Eastern Leisure Centre in Llanrumney.  In my mid-thirties I was given the opportunity to be an assistant instructor and then formed my own club in 2017, with limited success.  We moved to Splott in 2020 and have never looked back – the support from the community has been great?

Inksplott: How did you get into this?  Can you please tell us a little about the history of your business?

Paul: As I said we were formed in 2017 and initially trained in the new St Teilo’s School in Llanederyn, but we struggled to maintain numbers and engage the local community. I work in Splott at The Maltings building and The Old Library was recommended to me by one of our employee’s who lives in the area, I contacted the old library who were keen to have a martial arts club for adults and children in the area and have been really supportive since we have been there.

Inksplott: How much does it cost for your products / services? 

Paul: We charge £27.50 per month for the children’s classes, this is inclusive of the suit, badges, grading, belts and license – we don’t ask for any more money and the adults training starts at £25 per month, this is less that £3.50 a lesson.

We are also really proud that we have been able to maintain the same prices since we started in Splott and their will not be a price increase in 2024 as we want to make this beneficial martial art as cost effective as possible as things get tighter for everybody.

Inksplott: What’s your best story since setting up the business?

Paul: I have two! Each year, we start it off with Kangeiko, this is early morning, cold weather training over a three-day period – the numbers doubled this year and it is fun to see the students working out in the elements, balancing on logs and practising karate on top of mountains rather in the regular dojo.

We also took gold and silver in the TSKA (traditional shotokan karate association) competition in Summer ’23 at our summer camp in Weymouth

Inksplott: Tell us a secret or something about Splott that we won’t know.

Paul: I never knew I was from Splott – I have recently traced my family tree and found out that my great grandmother lived in Carlisle Street.

Inksplott: Any exciting plans or events on the horizon?

Paul: We want to carry on what we have established, a place the children and adults of Splott can go to learn this fascinating martial art, getting fit, getting flexible and making some new friends while doing so.

It is so rewarding to see the children grow in confidence after they join us and it really does help them focus in other areas of their life.

Inksplott: How can people follow you online?  Do you have Facebook, Twitter or a website?

Paul: You can find on facebook under kokoro Shotokan karate and our website is www.nakmas.org.uk/kokorokarate

Inksplott: That’s great – thank you so much for the interview!

Paul: Can i just add that we have adults classes as well? Please check the website for more information.

Contact Information:

Telephone: 07855 472544 / 07875 743414
E-mail: info@kokoroshotokankarate.co.uk

Dojo Address:
The Old Library Sports & Community Centre, Singleton Road, Splott, Cardiff, CF24 2ET

You can find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/KokoroMartialArtsCardiff/