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Home About Ryobu-Kai Who's Who Jonathon Smart
Jonathon Smart PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 26 December 2008 15:27

Branch Chief and Chief National Instructor for Mexico
4th Dan Shindo Jinen-ryu Karate-jutsu
Board Member, JKR International


Jonathon SmartAppointed to the JKR International Board of Directors in 2007 by Sensei Yamazaki, Jonathon currently holds a 4th degree black belt with the JKR International Organization.

Jonathon began his Karate training at the Japan Karate-Do Rybou-Kai dojo in West Sussex, England in 1986. At that time - as today - the JKR had a strong following throughout that country, with several schools operating and hundreds of students actively training. Taking every opportunity to participate in seminars with Sensei Yamazaki when he visited England each year, Jonathon also trained (with permission) with another traditional Shotokan karate organization under the guidance of Sensei Asano. Jonathon had the opportunity to participate in several seminars with Sensei Asano over the years that he trained with both organizations.

At the age of 19, Jonathon became one of the first JKR National Kumite Champions (the same year he placed 2nd in Kata).  The event was held at Brighton University in West Sussex England, and enjoyed a large number of competitors from around the country. These early National JKR Tournaments and events were tremendously important in uniting and strengthening the first generation of the JKR in England.

Prior to - and throughout - university, Jonathon traveled to the United States a number of times to take seminars and compete as part of an English JKR Team at Sensei Yamazaki's Annual International Invitational Tournament, and was granted the the chance to be Sensei Yamazaki’s Uchi Deshi at the JKR hombu dojo in Anaheim, California. Due to visa restrictions, however, Jonathon could stay no longer than two or three months on each visit, but he made repeated trips and gained an abundance of knowledge and experience while living at the dojo, teaching and training many hours each day under the watchful eye, guidance and instruction of Sensei Yamazaki. While living at the dojo as the Uchi Deshi, Jonathon also took regular classes in Iaido and Aikido.

Sensei Yamazaki later invited Jonathon to assist him in preparing Ralf Moeller for the title role in "Conan The Adventurer," and he later became "Assistant Sword Coordinator" for the television series, which was filmed in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Jonathon and Sensei Yamazaki lived, trained and worked together for the duration of filming in 1997, and Jonathon decided to stay and make Puerto Vallarta his home.  With Sensei Yamazaki's blessing, he opened a new JKR dojo in Marina Vallarta the following year.

The Marina Vallarta dojo became successful, and for several consecutive years maintained over 100 active students. Jonathon was also able to successfully integrate the Ryobu-Kai curriculum and philosophy into the physical educational curriculum of the American School of Puerto Vallarta, a private school located there. Jonathon hosted yearly “Masters Seminars” for Sensei Yamazaki and other senior JKR instructors, providing a venue for them to share their knowledge firsthand with the Puerto Vallarta students and others that attended from around the world.

Inheriting an entrepreneurial flair from his father, an accomplished businessman, Jonathon integrated the experience of living and learning directly from one of the worlds most respected and successful martial arts teachers into his professional life. Today, he is a partner in two rapidly evolving real estate companies, one sales- and marketing- oriented, and the other a construction company focused on commercial development oportunities. 2009 was an important year for Jonathon's ventures with the opening of his first commercial property, Plaza Ollin (meaning "movement"), on March 28th.

Plaza Ollin will become the headquarters of the JKR organization in Mexico, and Sensei Yamazaki visits Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita to share his knowledge twice each year.

Outside of martial arts, Jonathon is also an accomplished windsurfer.  At the age of 17, he became the National Junior Sub-Four Windsurfing Champion, and competed both nationally and internationally for a short time, before retiring from competition at the young age of 19.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 October 2010 19:08
 
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