Black Belts

Cherry Whitaker (head instructor)

Sensei Cherry Whitaker joined the kids’ class in the New Glasgow Karate Club September 1987 to train with her son, Ben. Roch Lefevbre was the Sensei and he was legendary for his toughness and hard physical workouts.  Cherry trained for a full year in the kids class only because she was too timid to train in adult class. Conquering her fear allowed her to slowly progress through the belt levels and through a change in Sensei to Michael Stephen, until she became a brown belt in 1993. In December, Michael left the club and Cherry, a brown belt was supported by the Chito Ryu Organization (Sensei Michael Delaney) to become its Chief Instructor. Now, she has become the Chief Instructor of the New Glasgow Karate Club with the longest term, having served from 1993 in that capacity.

Cherry has served as the Nova Scotia Karate Association president, the provincial delegate to the National Karate Association, headed the committee which NS hosted the Canadian National Black Belt Championships in 2004, and is currently back assisting with Officiating during the Provincial Tournaments. As a Yon Dan, Shihan, and is very proud to have trained over 20 people (with lots of help from others) to black belt status.

In 2014 the whole club also started training in RyuKyu Kobujustsu (Ancient Okinawan weapons) with Instructors Cherry, Rick and Robin who have earned their Shodans (first degree black belts).  Now members in our club will grade through both Chito Ryu Karate and Kobujutsu to attain 2 black belts.

She is also proud of the members in the club who care so much about learning karate and kobjutsu, supporting the development in karate in Pictou County, in this province, and in Canada. The club members are very focused in their learning this Martial Art, in practicing it with great spirit and determination, and  in building understanding of its finer technical points.

She is proud to have members dedicated to working in Peace, with Perseverance and dedicated effort, who work supportively with each other  and also understand that to progress we need to demand excellence in performance and understanding with the focus of striving to continuously learn.

Sensei Richard Whitaker joined karate in 1989 in the Salt Springs Karate Club run by Sensei Rhonda Smith (a student of Roch Lefebvre’s who had become a black belt). After that club dissolved, Rick joined his wife and son at the New Glasgow Karate club, where he still trains. Besides assisting with the teaching of adults in the club, (where he is a stickler for detail and quality performance), Rick has been supportive of the growth of karate in the province by becoming, in 1995, the tournament co-ordinator for the Nova Scotia Karate Association which means he is  responsible for co-ordinating and running all the Grand Prix and Junior tournaments each year, and he assisted at the Canadian National Black Belt  Championships yearly as a Score Supervisor for about ten years. In 2016 He returned as an Official to assist in tournaments.

He was also the Vice President of Nova Scotia Chito Ryu Association for a number of years and served as the President for one year. Richard is a San Dan (3rd degree black belt) and Shidoin (licensed teacher) in karate and has attained his Shodan in Ryukyu Kobujutsu. He is the oldest member of our club and an inspiration to all as he works as hard as all the younger members.

Sensei Volker Klum began training in Shotokan Karate in 1972 in Usingen Germany under the founder of karate in Germany, Jurgen Seydel (4th dan in Judo and 4th dan in Shotokan). At that time, to augment his training, Volker entered competitions and competed in both kumite and kata.

In 1975 Volker moved with his family to Wetzlar, and because there was no karate, studied Judo. He also entered competitions and competed as a yellow belt. When a Shotokan Karate club developed in the area, Volker again switched back to karate. His karate training was again interrupted after graduating from high school when he was conscripted to do his mandatory 15 months in the German military service. But, when he began training again, he made up for the time away by training 5 times per week with time split between full contact kick boxing and traditional Shotokan.  At this stage he attained a 2nd purple level belt- in Shotokan (which is equivalent to a blue belt in our system).

Because of work and developing a family life, involvement in karate slowed down until he came to Canada in 2000 and moved to the Merigomish area. He began training with Sensei John Fraser in Merigomish/East Pictou (Chito Ryu) and Sensei Paul Donovan (Chito Ryu) who headed the Central Nova Karate Club at Michelin. Volker began as a white belt and by 2004, he was ready to challenge the Black Belt Exam, and passed to become a Shodan in Chito Ryu.

Volker began training consistently with our club late in 2008. We are very pleased that he is teaching with us, that we are able to tap into his depth of knowledge, and to participate in his creative and difficult warm ups. He has fit in well and contributes a lot to our karate club, adding a dimension that benefits us all.

Sensei Ben Whitaker is the longest practicing member of the New Glasgow Karate Club, having joined in August 1987 in the kids class  He progressed through kids class and became a member of the adult class  at the age of 12, but continued to assist with the teaching of juniors for  many years, often attending class 4 times a week and also attending every  clinic he could. He competed in many provincial tournaments, winning many medals in kata and kumite, and competed at the Canadian National Black Belt Championship in 1995 in kumite.  At the age of 19 he became a black belt, and has also achieved his Ni Dan in March of 2000. If his farming activities allow, he wants to challenge the San Dan testing at some time.