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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Frank Brennan Profile

Anyone who hasn't heard of Frank Brennan has been living in a cave, for on the 6th May 1960, one of the finest and most successful competitors the world had ever seen was born. Yet who would have known that the young lad who had been rejected at twelve because of his age from the Red Triangle Karate Club would turn out to be such a karate legend?

Today, if you asked anyone in the world of Karate, ‘who are the greatest fighters of all time?’ with a high degree of certainty, Frank Brennan would be named. His reputation is acknowledged, and respected throughout the world, and will undoubtedly be remembered in the history of Karate. During an interview, Masahiko Tanaka once said that the Japanese team trained with the sole intention of beating Frank Brennan. A comment like this next to your name only highlights how fantastic a fighter Brennan was, and how significant a Karateka he remains to this day.

In 1973, he successfully gained membership and started training at the Red Triangle Karate Club under Sensei Andy Sherry. In was not very long until he dipped his feet into the world of karate competition, and after just a year of training, he entered his first ever competition in 1974, at the KUGB Northern Regional Championships. At just a 4th kyu, he entered the junior Kata event, which he won.

As a natural athlete, he had already taken up gymnastics at an early age, and it appears from his competition successes that Karate seemed to come to him with a degree of ease, but all of his peers he trained extremely hard under the watchful eye of both Master Enoeda and Sensei Sherry. Realistically speaking, with that kind of background, how could he ever be anything other than brilliant? 

However, in 1975, he made his first attempt at kumite shiai, but totally by default. While fighting for the team, Bob Poynton broke his leg - something which later bacme a returning injury - but this left the the team one fighter down, with no reserves. So the young Brennan, a brown belt at the time took Poynton’s place, in the final team Kumite event.

Brennan faced one of Leeds’ most experienced fighters – Andy Harris, and against all odds, against expectations beat him with an impressive mawashi-geri combination, making Red Triangle winners again. And so a star was born. 

From this impressive success, Frank Brennan continued with the KUGB squad, entering the European Championships in Sweden in 1978, where he came 2nd in the Senior Kata event.

The following year in Belgium, Brennan, determined to succeed, entered both senior kata and kumite events, becoming Grand Champion of Europe, winning both categories, a much sought after title. Impressive as this is, Brennan continued this impressive record by repeating the success a further three times, solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest fighters in the World.

Frank Brennan’s career took him up to 1990, where at the World Shotokan Championships in Sunderland, he took the team to victory, but more importantly cementing the name ‘Brennan’, as a name that will forever be remembered by all in the world of Shotokan Karate.

Frank Brennan continues as a part of the KUGB, and is a much sought after instructor and coach who has played an important role in bringing future competitors to success.