Instructors - Saj De Silva 5th Dan
Saj De Silva
Founder and Chief Instructor of North Kent Martial Arts
English United Karate Federation National Coach
5th Dan Karate | 5th Dan Kick Boxing
Training and Competition Success
Saj started learning karate at age of seven, moving across to the expertise of Ishinryu's Sensei Richard Condon (5th Dan), at age ten and trained with Rich for 17 years, until he sadly retired recently. He enjoyed much success as a junior competitor and was invited to train with the junior Ishinryu England Team at Ticky Donovan's prestigious Barking Hombu, where he trained for many years. Saj has dedicated his whole life to martial arts training and has frequently trained with various world class instructors on a regular basis. His willingness and enthusiasm to learn have never faltered and he still seeks regular expert instruction, even today. He has experience training in Karate (4th Dan), Kick boxing (4th Dan), Judo, Jujistu and Kung Fu. Saj was a regular competitor for the BIK England karate team both in the UK and Europe, gaining huge experience in a team littered with England Internationals, European and World medalists. It was this experience, regularly training amongst the best, which would help to build the foundation for his future successes as an instructor.
Competing was always a huge part of Saj's martial arts training but even from a young age, many people recognised that coaching was where he really excelled. As a child, people told Saj that he had an uncanny ability to be able to help others to see errors and even more so - to find ways to resolve them. As Saj evolved as a martial artist, into his teenage years, his natural skills as a teacher and a willingness to achieve were spotted by Rich Condon, who gave Saj the opportunity to run the Dartford Ishinryu Karate Pee Wee classes (children aged 4 and 5). Saj ran these classes successfully for a few years, before this commitment had to be relinquished due to an increasingly hectic university schedule. "After running the Dartford Pee Wee classes and watching the numbers steadily grow, I knew I could run a club by myself and make it a success. More importantly, I always loved helping people to improve and seeing the improvements from my own work, was incredibly rewarding. The opportunity to run the Pee Wee classes gave me the confidence that was so key at this stage in my life".
Saj continued to develop his unique ability to build rapport with people of any age or background. "People always told me that I was like a chameleon at school and at work! I was told that I could easily fit into any social circle or friendship group. That made me believe that I was destined for a job that worked closely with people". So Saj's future was set, even from a relatively young age. However, it was not until the age of 24, after the profoundly life changing experiences he had in Sri Lanka, 2006, that the future was firmly set in stone. After viewing the destruction on TV, Saj felt profoundly moved and wanted to help in any way possible. With the help of many, including charity founder, Kushil Gunasekera, Saj launched a project in a village called Seenigama, a village that was hugely devastated by the natural disaster. "I just thought that karate and sport had given me direction and a love for life, so I believed it would help to rebuild the confidence and happiness of many people, who had lost literally everything they had, during the space of just a few hours". After 5 months of hard work, Saj established himself as a well respected member of the village, regularly invited to all the village functions and party's. Now, in 2018, Seenigama karate club still thrives and even today Saj makes regular visits to see the development of the students, new and old. The Foundation Of Goodness (FOG) wrote a very touching article about Saj upon his departure, you can read more about it here.
After returning from Sri Lanka, Saj began making plans to open up his own karate clubs in the UK. In 2018, he is a full time instructor and dedicates his whole life to the running of his highly successful, North Kent Martial Arts club. Over nearly a 10 year period, North Kent Martial Arts has dominated much of the recent competition circuit and helped hundreds of people gain confidence, improve their ways of thinking, strive for greater achievements, and gain more enrichment from life. Saj's expertise in working with particularly difficult children has catapulted his reputation within local schools and as a result, the government has even placed him to work within schools in difficult areas of London. The outcome of Saj's work often helped to turn previously very difficult children into motivated, hard working and enthusiastic members of the school. Always having a full diary and a teacher in great demand, he has managed to help many people understand the importance of having a strong mindset and a focus on self development. Saj is in fact in so much demand that he currently has to turn away work on a regular basis. "I love working within schools, as I get to see a very broad spectrum of pupils and learning environments. I get to see first hand, how outstanding schools deal with difficult situations, pupils and parents. Good schools always use discipline to get the best out of their pupils. I have often gone into schools having absolutely no idea what to expect, but nearly always, I have seen that children love the structure, the rules and the discipline that come from learning martial arts".
Amazingly, within just the first 9 years of opening, North Kent Martial Arts produced local, regional, national, World and European medalists in all disciplines. NKMA has won numerous team and individual titles at all levels of the sport, on a consistent basis. Because of Saj's successes as chief instructor of NKMA, he was awarded the prestigious "Coach of the Year award" by Sensei Joe Anderson 8th Dan - one of Saj's greatest personal achievements.
Achievements and Qualifications
Karate 5th Dan
Kick boxing 5th Dan
English United Karate Federation National Coach
First Aid Qualified
CIMA Qualification in Massage Therapy and Injury Treatment
Qualified Association Referee and Judge (kata and kumite)
Fully Enhanced CRB Qualification
Advanced Childcare Course Qualification
BIK England International
BIK National Team Kata Champion
BIK National Kumite Champion
BIK National Kata Individual Bronze medalist
Colchester Open Champion, Kata and Kumite
Woolwich Open Champion, Kata and Kumite
Ticky Donovan Summer Course multiple medalist
2012 Coach of the Year Award
English United Karate Federation Champions - 2019
Meopham Open Champions - 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 (treble), 2017, 2018, 2019
Southern England Champions - 2013, 2014, 2018
East England Champions - 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
Essex Open Champions - 2015, 2018, 2019
Grand Karate Cup Champions - 2019
In addition, Saj has had the privilege of working with some of the best fitness coaches and physiotherapists in the country, helping him to have a very good knowledge and understanding of nutrition and sports injuries. He is currently undertaking a qualification to become a Nutrition Consultant and a Sports Injury Specialist, which will only further improve the quality and care of the athletes within NKMA.