Adrian Starr Sensei was introduced to the martial arts at the age of 8 by his father, who practiced Judo. Adrian Sensei was a teenager in 1970’s and was inspired by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris among others. As a result he started trying many different martial arts, including Kung Fu, Shotokai Karate, Jui Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do.
In 1981 he came to Southampton University to study marine engineering and found Shōrinji Kenpō as part of the BSKA (The British Shorinji Kempo Association). It was the art he’d been searching for. Its techniques and philosophy suited him perfectly, and for four years he trained in Southampton alongside his academic studies.
After completing his course Adrian Sensei left full time education and joined the army, volunteering for the infamous Parachute Regiment. He passed his P company test in 1986 before being commissioned as an officer from The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in April 1987. Adrian Sensei served on active tours of duty with the infantry and was posted all over the world – and wherever he went he practised whatever martial art was available. Over the course of seven years in the military that included Tang Soo Do, Savate, Boxing, Kick Boxing and many more.
In 1991 Adrian Sensei was posted back to Southern England and was able to continue his Shōrinji Kenpō studies, passing his 1st Dan black belt in 1994. Adrian Sensei also inherited the Southampton University Dojo in 1994 along with his training partner Ian Ferguson Sensei. They quickly turned it into the most successful dojo that was ever in the BSKF – even taking 21 University students to Japan for the 50th anniversary taikai where Adrian Sensei successfully graded for 2nd Dan.
By 1996 Adrian Sensei had left the army and joined the police. He served in Hampshire Constabulary for the next 23 years, winning multiple awards for bravery and extended service. He served on uniform response units and neighborhood teams, CID, Major Crime teams, specialist training teams including teaching police officers unarmed defence tactics. He carried on teaching Shōrinji Kenpō through all of this time and the Organisation slowly grew in size. He retired from the police force in 2018 and has been teaching full time since.
Adrian Sensei has been a regular visitor to Japan, training by invitation and personal recommendation at private and college dojos, and taking part in many courses and seminars at the full time training Hombu in Tadotsu. He attained his 3rd Dan in Paris in 2001 and his 4th Dan in 2008 at the Hombu in Japan, awarded by Arai Sensei, Chief Technical Instructor of WSKO.
In 2010, following the break up of the old BSKF, Adrian Sensei decided to form his own independent group and put aside the politics he saw in his old organisation. Since then the group has gone from strength to strength, now numbering 4 dojos training across Hampshire with over 100 student members regularly training. Adrian Sensei still loves his art. He teaches it the old way, very Japanese and very traditional, with high standards of respect and courtesy. His efforts were recognised with an award from Warriors Assemble in 2018 for “Continued Excellence in the Martial Arts”. Adrian Sensei was inspired by his teacher, Russell Jenkins Sensei, who passed away on March 24th 2014.
Adrian Sensei attempts to maintain the high standards that he was taught by Sensei Russ. Adrian Sensei sees the ethos of his art as unchanged from an early motto that Southampton University Dojo had on one of their first club T-shirts: “Realistic, challenging, enjoyable.” The unofficial motto however was:
“Work hard, play hard, enjoy your Shōrinji Kenpō.”