Club History

Our Jiu Jitsu clubs have delivered training to thousands of residents, students and visitors, having been well established in the city for several decades.

City Centre Club

York Town Jitsu club was started in 1997 By Sensei Graham Smith at York’s Barbican Centre. The club aimed to accommodate the training needs of both children and adults with Friday night training sessions - adults training for an extended period.

In 2003 the club moved its location to St. Olave’s School (St. Peter’s School’s junior/prep school) in order to avoid the increasing number of session cancellations for big events at the York Barbican Centre.

In September of 2003 the club began holding a second weekly session on Monday nights as the club passed Sensei Stephen Millard, and thoughout the mid-noughties a third senior student only session; again all open to both adults and children. Sensei Millard has since taken over both sessions and the full running of the club.

In October 2019, Sensei Millard steped down and the club officially passed to Sensei Tom Dugmore, assisted by Ted Everett.

University of York Club

The University of York Samurai Jiu Jitsu Club (as it was originally called) was started in the late eighties at the University of York by Sensei Michael Lycett. The club ran for a year ‘unofficially’ without funding from the University’s Athletic Union, but since then has been one of the strongest club’s in the University.

After three years of instruction Sensei Lycett took his leave and the club was then run by Sensei Julian Straker-Jones (who later went on to become a founding member of Aiuchi Jitsu) for a year before control was passed on once more to Sensei Richard Harrop. Sensei Harrop was assisted during this time by Sensei Rod Chapman, and it was during this period that the club first swelled to be the biggest martial arts club at the University.

When Sensei Harrop departed for pastures south a new instructor to the area, Sensei Graham Smith, took over the running of the club for a single university term. After this Sensei Smith left to start-up York Town Jitsu Club in the city’s centre, and the university club was then instructed by the recently graded to ikkyu Sensei Clare Sadler. After approximately a year of instruction Sensei Sadler left the University and the club was effectively left without an instructor, and the number of members fell to an all time-low.

The return of the club’s founder (Sensei Lycett) heralded a re-birth for the club and the number of members once again grew in number. During this time Sensei Lycett was assisted by a number of other instructors including Sensei Tom Heseltine, Sensei Pete Dodd, Sensei Stephen Millard and Sensei Jess Young.

Sensei Lycett continued to instruct the club until mid-2011 when he stepped down and the teaching of the club was taken over by a former York Jitsu Club student Sensei Jess Young. Sensei Young taught the club for a little over a year with support from Sensei Mags Godderidge and Sensei Stephen Millard.

In late 2012, Sensei Jonathan Edward took over the day to day teaching of the club with Sensei Dodd returning to full time teaching of the club soon after.

in 2017 Sensei Dodd stepped down and passed the instruction of the club to Sensei Tom Dugmore who continues to lead and develop the club.