Sensei Dave Wodcke (5th Dan)
In 1982 at the age of 22, I was forced to give up competitive football due to injury. With a childhood interest in Martial Arts, I was introduced to Paul Hurst who encouraged me to follow his post football career and take up Karate at his dojo in Hatfield under the regime of Peter Spanton and the Higashi Karate Kai.

Paul was an inspirational Sensei, suffering with a brain tumour that was later to claim his life. Receiving my 1st Dan from Peter Spanton, I was proud to revive Paul’s club in 1986 and have continued to teach in the same “old style” that he was so proud of.

In those days, Peter Hall ran the Harold Hill club and Paul’s friendship with him brought the Welwyn and Harold Hill clubs together as sister clubs; they held week-long summer courses with a level of training that remains talked about to this day. During this time I became friends with Peter Hall and Bob Humphreys (who took over the Harold Hill dojo when Peter moved away), so it was no coincidence that some years later Peter Hall, Bob Humphreys and I decided to form Nishido Karate Kai together.

The Welwyn Garden City Club has been forced to change dojo several times, but the strong backbone of the club remains. I teach students of all ages, from 5 to 60+ years of age and have taken numerous students to Dan grade level. Even today I receive regular visits from past students who are very accomplished senior grades in Karate and other martial arts, but they return to their roots for a fix of Wado-Ryu at the Welwyn club.

Whilst running Welwyn Garden Nishido I have also practiced other martial arts, including jujitsu and several other Karate styles. I encourage all senior grades to experience other martial arts as I consider it important to have an overall perspective. Consequently I frequently attend and teach at multi style seminars and respect all fighting arts as equals.

Welwyn Garden Nishido has continued its traditional way, focusing on spirit, technique, fighting and Kata. I have no favourite discipline, I believe one should follow the way in all aspects of the art – just ask my students!