Sensei Ticky Donovan OBE

History of Ishinryu Karate

Interview with Ticky Donovan in 2013

Ishinryu Karate
Founded by Sensei Ticky Donovan (England, 1973)

Ishinryu, meaning “All of One Heart”, was founded by its world chief instructor Sensei Ticky Donovan 10th Dan OBE in 1973. Taught by Japanese karate masters of Kyokushinkai, Wado-Ryu and Shotokan, Sensei Donovan combined the knowledge and skills he had gained to develop his own system of karate and opened his first club in Dagenham, London.

Ishinryu has become synonymous with success, particularly on the competition karate circuit. An accomplished competitor himself, Sensei Donovan was a regular member of the English national kumite squad, winning the British Championships in 1973/74/75 and becoming European and World team champion.

But it was as a coach that he was to truly excel. After a successful fighting career Sensei Donovan became the English and British coach. He took Britain to the pinnacle of world karate, winning five successive World men’s team championships and three women’s World team titles.
His achievements resulted in the award of the OBE in 1991.

Britain’s success under Sensei Donovan’s guidance became the envy of the karate world – many team and individual titles and medals followed. Many of these champions were from the Ishinryu family. Ishinryu dominated the British and English championships from the early eighties both in kumite and kata, producing many male and female British, English, European and World champions. Sensei Ticky Donovan OBE 10th Dan is the most successful kumite coach the world has ever seen.

Sensei Donovan’s model for competition karate became the foundation for many other nations who recognise his part in their success. This was evident in Sensei Donovan’s appointments after retiring from kumite coaching: he was on the boards of the English Karate Federation (as Technical Director), the Technical Commission of the European Karate Federation and was the Kata Coach of the English Team.

Originally based in and around East London and Essex where this style still thrives, Ishinryu has spread far from these roots and is now taught around the world. Ishinryu has a strong record in competition, both in Kumite and Kata, and has produced World, Commonwealth, English, British, European, Oceanian, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian champions. Many of these successful students have gone on to open their own Ishinryu clubs in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Fiji.

As well as competition success Ishinryu places great emphasis on Traditional Karate with basic training and the correct understanding of technique being recognised as the foundation for good karate.

Ishinryu continues to be led by Sensei Ticky Donovan O.B.E. who is currently a 10th Dan.

Sensei Tony Hails 8th Dan

Head of Style, Ishinryu in Australia

Sensei Tony Hails trained with Sensei Ticky Donovan in London, England in the 70’s. He attained the grade of 2nd Dan and represented England in competition before emigrating to Australia in 1980, where he founded Ishinryu Karate Australia. 

Sensei Tony represented Australia at four WKF World Championships, twice as team captain. When the world’s best karate fighters came to Sydney in 1986, Sensei Tony finished 4th in the world in his division. At his fourth world titles at age 38 he placed 10th in the world.

In the 1980’s Sensei Tony was THE fighter that the crowd stopped to watch. He fought with a style and a flair that was unique, his athleticism and his technique were unmatched. The pinnacle of Sensei Tony’s international competition career was in Sydney in 1989. As captain of the Australian team at the Asian Pacific Karate Championships he defeated the fighter from Japan 6-0 to win the title in his weight division, and led the Australian Men’s Team to victory and 1st place over formidable Japanese opponents. These results were unprecedented.

Nationally, Sensei Tony captained and coached the NSW team over many years, winning seven individual National Titles, and mentored several Ishinryu students (including three current Sensei) to represent NSW and Australia over three decades. He coached the NSW and Australian teams and gained a WKF coaching award. Since 2009 he has been the mentor coach to Karate Fiji, guiding coaches to WKF accreditation and competitors to success at Pacific Games and Oceania Championships. In 2022 Sensei Tony commenced handing over his NSW duties to Sensei Alison Peachey 6th Dan, whilst continuing his duties as Head of Style for Australia. He continues to be the highest graded student of Sensei Ticky Donovan OBEA 10th Dan, worldwide.

Sensei Tony holds silver level dojo coaching qualifications via Sport Australia / AIS.

Sensei Alison Peachey 6th Dan

Chief Instructor, Ishinryu NSW

Sensei Alison Peachey commenced karate with Ishinryu in 1989. She graded to black belt in 1992 and then commenced her competition career. Sensei Alison represented NSW at many National Championships, winning numerous gold, silver, and bronze medals as a member of the NSW Women’s Team. She won five consecutive individual bronze medals at the Australian Open Karate Championships, and in 1999 won a bronze medal representing Australia at the Oceania Championships. 

Whilst competing Sensei Alison gained accreditation as a referee. She attained national accreditation in 2005 and undertook progressive study and championship experience to attain her World Karate Federation credential in Dubai in 2018. In 2019 Sensei Alison officiated at her first World Championships (U21, Junior and Cadet) in Santiago, Chile. She is a member of the Australian Karate Federation’s Referee’s Commission, and Secretary of the NSW Karate Federation’s Referee’s commission. 

Sensei Alison Peachey 6th Dan is the highest graded woman in Ishinryu Karate and the highest graded referee in Ishinryu Karate, worldwide. In 2022 she was elevated to the role of Chief Instructor for NSW.

Sensei Alison holds silver level dojo coaching qualifications via Sport Australia / AIS.