Sensei Profile – Kieran Mullen ISKF
The following is a profile of Sensei Kieran Mullen of International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). Sensei Mullen in based in Rathcoole, Dublin and has spent his life involved in Karate, with over 25 years experience.
When did you start Karate and what made you choose Karate as a sport?
I started karate in 1985, I chose Karate after studying Judo for two years and decided I wanted to kick after seeing some karate ka warming up for a class that started after the judo. My farther took me to Sensei Clarkes Dojo, St Marys, I never returned to Judo, and still have Sensei Clarke come to my Dojo to teach when he can. I never have or will think of Karate as a sport, to me it is an art.
Who was your first instructor?
My father James Mullen was one of the original members of the republic of Ireland taekwon do association (R.I.T.A) and i used to practice at home with him but my first Sensei was Anthony Clarke (K.U.I) in the St Marys Dojo in Clondalkin
What was the early days of your karate like and are there a lot of changes from today’s karate?
I remember the tough classes and the large numbers training in St Marys, the famous line up for Kumite with the advanced line for the more experienced fighters, it was a tough bunch and i still remember the day Sensei Clarke told me i was ready to step up, i was very nervous, but it was a great experience to fight the seniors with no quarter given,which helped create a team that would be successful both in Ireland and Europe. I think Karate has changed from the time i started, both in a good and a bad way, i think more instructors now focus on proper technique rather than just drills but i find some students are not as eager to practice Kata or basics only Kumite.
Do you practice or practiced other martial arts?
What is the most important thing that you have learned from practicing Karate, and How has Karate impacted your life?
I think Karate has been very important in my life as a child it installed confidence, which i find more parents now tell me that they need in their children, the Dojo Kun is essential in the development of all budo, at ISKF we always end the class with the Dojo Kun, I have been honoured to be appointed as chief instructor for ISKF Ireland by Okazaki Shihan.
What aspect of Karate are you currently focusing on?
For me I commute to work on every technique, karate is continuous development, nobody has achieved perfection.
What advice would you give new Karate students?
Practice and stick with it, its easy to quit, train hard there are no shortcuts
What is your normal training routine?
My personal routine in basics and Kata plus some Kumite, in the Dojo the classes are structured to develop technique according to level.
Of all the Instructors you have trained with, does anybody stand out in your memory and why?
I have been lucky to have trained with some of the top senseis in world Karate including Enoeda, Kanazawa,Okazaki, Yaguchi, Sherry and Brennan, I could list lots more names they all stood out for me every Sensei has something different to offer, a high light for me was to pass Godan in 2011 under Shihans Okazaki and Yaguchi and the ISKF technical panel at Mastercamp.
10. What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Karate without Kata is like trying to write a book with no knowledge of the alphabet- My father James Mullen