Dr Kevin Thurlow-Criss 7th Dan, International Chief Instructor and President to the Shotokan-Ryu Karate Kyokai Kokusai (SKKK) has been training in Shotokan Karate now for over 40 years having started his Karate career back in 1975 (aged 6) with Sensei Pauline Bindra 8th Dan under the Karate Union of Great Britain, part of the Japan Karate Association in the UK and then continued with Pauline Sensei under, Thames Karate International (TKI). The years that followed saw Kevin Sensei train with many of the great Shotokan Sensei such as the late Enoeda Sensei, Asai Sensei, Asano Sensei and Kanazawa Sensei. Kevin Sensei concentrated his training on the Budo elements of Shotokan Karate with less emphasis on the competition side although he did compete at local and National level, winning several medals and went on to become a recognised English National competition Referee under the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB). Around this time, he also held the position of National Team Coach for Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International (SSKI) a Nakayama JKA based Shotokan group under the leadership of Malcolm Phipps Sensei 8th Dan and was presented in 2005 with an award for coaching the SSKI National Team to its most successful competition year ever. Whilst with SSKI, Kevin Sensei enrolled and subsequently graduated from the World Traditional Karate Organisation (WTKO) Instructor Training Programme under the intense personal tutelage of Richard Amos Sensei 7th Dan, with Kevin Sensei becoming the first ever international graduate of the programme.
In 2006 Kevin Sensei was inducted into the International Shotokan-Ryu Karate-Do Shihankai (International Council of Shotokan Masters) and awarded the Shogo (Samurai title) of ‘Renshi’, meaning ‘Polished Expert’. Kevin Sensei continued to train with top class Shotokan instructors and has had the privilege of training with the late Enoeda Sensei, the late Namiki Sensei, Ohta Sensei, Saito Sensei, Steve Ubl Sensei, Jan Knobel Sensei, Dave Hazard Sensei, Simon Oliver Sensei, Terry O’Neil Sensei, Colin Putt Sensei, Jim Wood Sensei, the late Cyril Cummings Sensei, Murakami Sensei, Sugimoto Sensei and Paul Herbert Sensei to name but a few and is honoured to call many of these friends. Kevin Sensei made the difficult decision in 2007 to leave his current organisation and form his own independent JKA based Shotokan group the English Shotokan Ryu Karate Kyokai (ESKK) which then changed its name to Shotokan Ryu Karate Kyokai Kokusai (SKKK) in 2011 when the group went international with its first Dojo opening in Budapest, Hungary. Kevin Sensei continued his own Karate development and in 2011, graduated from the World JKA Karate Association (WJKA) Instructor Programme gaining International A-Class Instructor, Examiner and Judge status. Kevin Sensei was subsequently promoted to the rank of 7th Dan with the WJKA in 2013, following an assessment of his teaching ability at various events and Gasshuku, his karate career and his Budo attitude and was also voted into the role of WJKA Chairman and Chief Referee positions he held until 2017. Kevin Sensei has an open-door policy with regards to Shotokan training and is happy to work with any association, club or individual regardless of affiliation and is himself recognised and accepted by several high profile organisations. In 2020, Kevin Sensei was awarded the title of Kyoshi (meaning Professor) by the ISKS.