THE FOUNDING MEMBERS
The World Karate-Do Alliance founding members, have known each other for the past 25 years. Passion was the only reason that led this trio to the foundation of WKA. The Vision Statement reflects their beliefs, and
” … to do the Right things… ”
pertains only to the minds of Leaders who treasure and perceive values as the scaffolding for the strongest foundation. Bringing about Unity, is all about a Growth mindset – a mindset which paves the way towards collaboration, compassion, improvement, and success. The list is not exhaustive, and the Design Inspirations partly guides one to better understand the innate traits of this Trio.
Mr Orang Ranjbar, Rokudan (6th Dan) Shotokan, a former Water Polo International athlete, representing Iran from 1973 – 76. He began his martial arts journey as a young adult in the UK in late 1970, where he discovered the karate way of life, which he continues wholeheartedly to this date. In 2013, he was awarded the Degree in Traditional Karate (Japan Institute) by the late Grand Master Ronnie Colwell, 9th Dan.
Mr Ranjbar is educated to Degree level in both Electronics Engineering and Sports Rehabilitation, the latter of which, proved to be of great help to several athletes in different countries during his Seminars and training sessions. In 2005, he was a lecturer at the University of Bolton, playing a key role in helping students who pursued their studies in Sports Rehabilitation.
Being proficient in Electronics Engineering and teaching on how to recover from sports injuries was not enough though. His wish to continue further his achievements led him to choose a different profession, that of a Professional Graphic Designer, an intricate profession which requires creativity, patience and long hours of concentration.
Mr Ranjbar is the Founder and President of the United Karate England (UKE). He was WUKO European President, WUKO Delegate to the UK, and formed part of the WUKO Referee Commission. He was a blessing to the Refereeing Panels during kumite Championships, as his patience and calm nature were always dominant and influential; a trait which is most needed during such intense moments. During his time as WUKF Ambassador, he was always on the forefront of ideas and concepts and WUKF benefited greatly from his various fields of expertise.
Kindness and sense of humour are amongst several other traits which help build trust between people, and those working with Mr Ranjbar, have experienced both. His willingness to lend a helping hand whenever it is requested, irrelevant of how heavy his present workload is, shows his genuine nature.
Mr Chris Galea, 7th Dan Shotokan, well known for his passion and desire to bring about unity in the world of Karate. He was awarded the Degree in Traditional Karate (Japan Institute) by one of his teachers, the late Grand Master Ronnie Colwell, 9th Dan, several years ago. He has been teaching karate to both children and adults for over 30 years, and his passion for this art grew stronger with time. Being acknowledged for his great efforts and passion, he was awarded the title of Sports Ambassador for Martial Arts for Malta by the Malta President Emeritus of Malta HE Mrs. M. L. Coleiro Preca.
His profession in Computers, as a Systems Analyst, and his Diploma in Physical Education with the University of Malta, are far from related, but his passion for training and karate has always been dominant.
Mr Galea is the Founder and President of both the Shotokan Karate School Malta (SKSM) and of the Mediterranean Karate Alliance (MKA). He is also the Chairman of the Malta Open Editions Organizing Committee and Honorary member of the Okinawa Meibukan Goju-Ryu. He has been recognized for his skills as an International Organizer for the past 23 years, and has been invited by several organisations, including World Bodies, for consultancy, where many have benefited from his ideas, which he was always willing to share.
For many years, during his position as Public Relations Officer and member of the WUKF Executive Committee, Mr Galea worked hard in uniting many clubs and Federations from all over the world. WUKF has gained great knowledge and experience from his hard work during the years he held these positions, and to-date, his ideas in the Federation, are still being put into practice.
Still training, teaching, and organizing, Mr Galea is respected for his honest approach, commitment, and dedication. He is very grateful to his teacher, Sensei Cosimo Cavallo (8th Dan), from whom he has learnt a great deal about karate and several organisational skills. Mr Galea is known for his great sense of humour and for his kind nature; the combination of which, has always made things easier during difficult times. A trustworthy and genuine person, who is always ready to help others overcome their challenges. His dynamic character is unique and no challenge is insurmountable for him, irrespective of how daunting it may be.
Ms Lucienne Galea, Rokudan (6th Dan) Shotokan, a sporty person since childhood, practiced the sport she loved most – table tennis – for 17 consecutive years . For a short period of time, she was able to represent her country in International competitions, but her daily plans and commitments, had to be rescheduled once she was introduced to karate (love at first sight).
During this time, she had to cope with her studies, and training, and she never imagined that to this date, she would be still practicing and teaching what she fell in love with, 30 years ago. In 2006, She was awarded the Degree in Traditional Karate (Japan Institute) by one of her teachers, the late Grand Master Ronnie Colwell, 9th Dan. She is also graded in Kobudo under Kuniyoshi Sensei, and is very grateful to the training experience with Sensei Valeriy Kusiy.
After finishing her first Degree as a Teacher of Physics and Mathematics with the University of Malta (UOM), in 1994, Ms Galea committed herself to intensive training. A couple of years after, she completed her studies as a fitness and gym instructor with the same University. Her efforts in Kata and kumite training, were rewarded during Championships as she won several titles. She also won the Best Athlete during Championships held in Holland and in Germany in 2003 and 2010 respectively.
Ms Galea teaches at the Shotokan Karate School Malta (SKSM) and has been the Chief Referee of the Malta Open Championships for the past 23 years. Her interest in refereeing served as a tool to improve both her performance and that of students. She completed her Refereeing training and examinations with WKF. Years later, she was also WUKF World Referee, while still competing.
Ms Galea finished her Post Graduate Diploma in Education, Administration, and Management with the same University (UOM) in 2009, and studied in Belfast, Ireland, for a period of time. Years later, she finished her Masters (Leadership), with the University of Leicester. She believes in Lifelong learning for growth and open mindedness. As an Educator, she embraces diversity and inclusion, whereby the students’ happiness, is by far the most rewarding experience of all. She is very grateful to the teachings of two of her teachers, late Grand Master Colwell and Sensei Cosimo Cavallo (8th Dan), whose influence in karate -do has been deeply ingrained in her life. To-date, she opted to remain within the Education Secondary Sector as an Assistant Head of school, while continuing to be of service to those in need of her support.
THE EXECUTIVE and REFEREE BOARD
Mr Ray Sweeney is the CEO of Ikkaido, a 6th Dan in karate, Sifu of Tai chi chuan and Qigong and a 1st Dan in Tai Jitsu. He holds a Level 4 Master of Karate (National Coach Spain) and is an inclusion and diversity expert working in European Commission projects.
He studied with Kent Business School, holds a Diploma in Business Leadership from University of Leicester and has been the CEO of 7 construction companies and 3 NGOs in three different countries. He holds a Level 3 in Inclusive Martial Arts which facilitates the coaching and education of persons with a disability and fewer opportunities.
He writes frameworks of accredited and regulated inclusive accessible qualifications which stress the value and importance of the inclusive development of people through sport by focusing on a bio-psycho-social model for emotional, social, physical, behavioural and cognitive development.
Mr Sweeney holds a Diploma in Psychology and Child Psychology using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for Depression, Anxiety and Phobias, Drug Recovery and Addiction Therapy and is a Special Educational Needs teacher.
Mr Dirk van der Merwe, 5th Dan and world karate champion, has been a paraplegic wheelchair user for over 25 years after being injured whilst in the police force. He is an internationally known role model for disabled people, a Self-Defence Empowerment Martial Arts Trainer with the Lydia Zidgel Foundation and a qualified Level 3 Coach in Inclusive Martial Arts.
He has additional qualifications as a Special Needs teacher, tutor and assessor of qualifications and is a mentor for Wheel power working with newly disabled people to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, signposting them to education and employment.
Mr Merwe is the Ambassador of Sport for UK Coaching. and a European Expert on inclusive practice. Princess Anne presented him with the award for UK Disability Coach of the Year in recognition of his contribution to coaching.
Mr Djida Abdoulaye started practicing Karate 30 years ago in the dojo Samurai, in Cameroon, under Sensei Bapidi Mathias. Funnily enough, his inspiration to start karate was a movie he watched as a child – from then onwards, he never looked back.
His training schedule was an intensive three times a week at the dojo with his Sensei, and several hours training at home on a daily basis. This was extremely demanding both physically and mentally, but his mother’s support and encouragement played an important role during his career. When he immigrated to Italy, he trained in different dojos – Efeso Dojo, Honbu Dojo, and AKS Organisation – under Sensei Bortolami, Sensei Nardelli, and Sensei Ciccarelli, respectively.
Mr Abdoulaye started competing in 1993 and won his first National Championship in Kumite in 1995. He also managed to do higher studies in International Trade. During his career as a top kumite athlete, he travelled around the world to be able to compete in different countries to gain more experience. To-date, he has earned more than 35 titles in Africa, Europe, and North America, where he was announced Champion in all three Continents. Hard work did pay off – twice World Karate Champion, twice Gold medalist at the Canadian Open Karate Championships, 3 times European Karate Champion, 3 times European Karate Cup Winner, America’s Master Games Champion, and the list goes on. His last competition was in 2019, and all competitors look forward to learning from his experience and knowledge in kumite.
Mr Nunzio Colella started training Karate in Switzerland, in 1968. He dedicated his life to training, and as he grew older, he was even more interested to continue studying Karate. For two consecutive years (1972 & 1973), he held the title of European Champion.
The refereeing sector was always of interest to Mr Colella, and eventually, he became a World Referee (WUKO Federation) during the Millennium.
Years back, Mr Colella also formed part of the WUKF Commission for 5 consecutive years. To-date he is 8th Dan in Shotokan Karate, and President of the WKA Refereeing panel.
Mr Tunde Fadare, has been practising Karate for a number of years. He has participated in several International courses and seminars including competitions. He is a World Referee and is currently 4th Dan Shotokan. Mr Fadare is very passionate about Karate and devoted to the art.