This page is our small tribute to the late Sensei Gary Spiers - a remarkable man, martial artist and friend.  Gary was unique, he will never be replaced.


Steve, Gary and Darren
 (Click to enlarge)


Gary came to the UK looking for work after meeting Sensei Terry O Neill.  He liked it here and stayed working the doors, driving a cab, teaching Karate, minding and later running his own security firm.  Gary was loved by some, hated by others, but he was good at his job and a larger than life figure.  He always had a story to tell and his stories from when he trained in Japan were always really worth hearing.

Gary trained in both Japanese Goju Kai and Okinawan Goju Ryu.  He lived in Japan for a while and graded under the Great Master Gogen Yamaguchi who was known as the Cat.

Eventually having taught Goju at his clubs in the UK, Gary started to change his style to what was finally going to be known as "Applied Karate".  This was Goju based but included wrestling, gouging, throws and any techniques which would work for real in the street.  Gary's style had been known by other names earlier on, such as Gary Ru and Reality Ryu but it was Applied Karate he chose and taught under until the end of his days.

I had always wanted to train with Gary and had written to him on several occasions.  Because of his work he was a hard guy to track down!  Eventually, after years of trying Darren Langston and myself attended the Gary workshops at Urmston run by Dr. Peter Lewis.  Having met Gary and trained with him, my ambition was fulfilled - but we could not now get enough of his unique style of training and humour.

In 2000, the year before his death, Gary came down to Wolverhampton and taught us a full days seminar at the Jennie Lee Centre in Wednesfield, West Midlands.  It went really well and Gary seemed to enjoy it also.
After the seminar Gary would ring us quite frequently and he was always very kind and complementary.  He eventually went on to say he wanted to run more seminars down here with us and we were all looking forward to arranging these.
Please see the attachment which is our seminar review from Fighters Magazine here (requires Adobe Reader, available for download here).
Gary's death was of course a shock to everyone.  We found out some weeks later when it was announced in the magazines.  We were gutted here but we could only imagine how people closer to him must have felt.
Gary had tried on several occasions to film his sessions and seminars but Gary the perfectionist was never happy with the results and the films went in the bin!It seems so sad now that all this information has been lost forever.
Sensei Dennis Martin has recently written a great book on his days working the doors with both Gary and Terry O Neill.  The book is called "Working with Warriors" and is a must read.  See the link to Dennis' website on our "Links" page where you can read further information on Gary under the Absent Friends column.  You could also look for back issues of Fighters and Fighting Arts magazine which had some good articles on Gary and his Applied Karate. 

Darren and Michael Painter watched by Steve Young
(Click to enlarge)

My two most prized possessions from my martial arts training are a signed photo from Gary and a letter he sent me at Christmas praising our dojo and confirming he was coming down to train with us again.


Gary Spiers -  1944 - 2001, Gone but never forgotten


Applied Karate -  " Making it work "

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Golden Serpent Martial Arts 2010

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