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. 



Coaching Achievments

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

Competition Successes

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

British Coaching Successes 

English United Karate Federation Champions - 2019, 2022

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, 2021

Essex Open Champions - 2015, 2018, 2019

Grand Karate Cup Champions - 2019

British Association of Shotokan Karate Champions - 2021, 2022

International Coaching Successes

Dublin 2016 WUKF World Championships

Vicky Yates - Bronze, Kumite

Ruvey Ekinci - Bronze, Kumite

Brandon Spalding - Bronze, Kumite

Italy 2016 WUKF European Championships

Ruvey Ekinci - Gold, Kumite

Danny Rothwell - Bronze, Team Kumite

Layla Flint - Silver, Kata

Romania 2017 WUKF European Championships

Brandon Spalding - Gold, Kata

Jessica-Mary Onuoha - Silver, Kumite

Ruvey Ekinci - Silver, Kumite

Romania 2017 WUKF European Championships

Brandon Spalding - Gold, Kata

Jessica-Mary Onuoha - Silver, Kumite

Ruvey Ekinci - Silver, Kumite

Dundee 2018 WUKF World Championships

Layla Flint - Bronze, Kata.

                     Silver, Team Kumite

Arturo P-S - Bronze, Kumite

                     Silver, Team Kumite

Sammy Holmes - Silver, Kata

Jessica-Mary Onuoha - Gold, Kumite

                                         Silver x2, Bronze, Team Kumite

Ruvey Ekinci - Silver x2, Team Kumite

Vicky Yates - Bronze, Kumite

Malta 2018 WUKF European Championships

Arturo P-S - Silver, Kumite

Holly Pratt - Silver, Kumite 

                      Bronze,  Team Kumite

Jessica-Mary Onuoha - Gold, Kumite

                                         Silver, Bronze, Team Kumite

Brandon Spalding - Bronze, Kumite

Emma Harris - Gold, Team Kata

                           Silver, Kata

                           Bronze, Team Kumite

Layla Flint - Gold Team Kata

                     Bronze, Team Kumite

Summer Davies - Gold Team Kata

                                Bronze Team Kumite

Vicky Yates - Bronze x2, Kumite

Bratislava 2019 WUKF World Championships

Brandon Spalding - Silver, Kumite

Summer Davies - Bronze, Team Kumite

Layla Flint - Bronze, Team Kumite

Jorge Fowler - Bronze, Team Kumite

Romania 2021 WUKF World Championships

Curtis Wallis - Gold, Kumite

Holly Pratt - Gold, Adapted Kata

Vicky Yates - Silver, Kata

                       Silver, Kumite

Jorge Fowler - Bronze, Kata

Nevaeh Hawkes - Bronze, Kumite

Brandon Spalding - Bronze, Kumite

Kieran Hawkes - Bronze, Adapted Kata

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.