Customer Focus: The TSKAGB
Founded in 1994 by Roy and Wendy Hazelwood, the ‘Traditional Shotokan Karate Association of Great Britain’ (TSKAGB) has it’s Honbu in Letchworth, as well as a further 15 centres throughout Hertfordshire and South Bedfordshire. Having developed their Shotokan schools and training along traditional lines, rather than purely commercial ones, they have grown steadily and maintained a ‘feet on the ground’ approach. Roy from the TSKAGB explains, “We feel it’s important to stay in control of what we offer and its quality. We have a limited range of programmes which suits our current students and we’d rather recruit slowly in order to keep our students longer term and our attrition low. We have developed a beginner’s package that works well for newcomers and we’re proud that all our instruction team are home-grown and have been trained to deliver our style.”
“We feel that we offer a discipline from which most individuals can benefit.”
Roy Hazelwood’s approach promotes skill, experience and unique styles to enhance the teaching experience for both students and parents alike. Roy says, “Our students range from 4 – 65 years old with a variety of different needs. We have pre-schoolers, teenagers completing their Duke of Edinburgh Award or studying P.E. qualifications and students experiencing autism, dyspraxia and sight impairment. We periodically run student evaluation and testimonials and it’s so gratifying to hear how students both young and old have benefited from their training with us, often in ways that they might never have envisaged. We have recently developed a range of weekend courses which have been very well received, the favourite being our ‘Seaside Weekend’, where we train on the beach! Our students also really value us bringing in fellow martial arts ‘practitioners’ to offer specialist focus.” The TSKAGB is also currently extending the development of their instruction team, through a new programme which will be offered to all students regardless of age from 4th kyu upwards. We will also continue to develop external links to regularly recruit new students into our clubs. Roy says, “Location is absolutely essential and we don’t have our own premises. We prefer to rent space on a ‘per session’ basis in sports centres, schools and community centres.”
About Roy and Wendy
Roy started training around 1979 and progressed quickly in a variety of Shotokan disciplines. He trained extensively in his association competition squad and entered English and European tournaments with other young Karateka. He later trained in Japan under Sensei Kanazawa in the mid 80’s and opened his first club in 1984. By the late 80’s, Roy had become a professional instructor and shortly after in 1994, launched the TSKAGB. Since launch, the TSKAGB has gone from strength to strength! Wendy’s formal teaching background offering student support in schools, colleges, universities and within the community, as well as her experience working as a life coach has helped her to develop TSKAGB’s own curriculum and procedures.
After joining the business full time last year (2007), Wendy can now spend more time looking for new opportunities and further developing the TSKAGB’s curriculums for pre-school/reception aged children as well as developing a new curriculum which can be used with other grown-ups and in school liaison work. As with a lot of businesses it hasn’t always been easy. They have a family and have had to juggle bringing up two young sons, Wendy’s career and their own training around the business. Both Wendy and Roy believe that their martial arts offer benefits for anyone. They take great pride in the success of their students, especially those who have had to overcome difficulties in other aspects of their lives.
(Interview from Summer 2008)