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Interview with Graham Slater

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Interview by Tai Chi & Chi Kung Instructor Morgan Buchanan (2001)

Is there such a place where martial art instructors can further their knowledge without any concerns over style,. grade or title? Well Graham Slater believes there is and he has created many places around the world for it to happen. It all proceeds under the banner of the International Karate Alliance.

This interview is with the Founder/Chairman of the association Sensei Graham Slater, a veteran of the martial arts industry for over 35 years. 

MB : What motivated you to start such an organisation?

The main incentive for me was to advance my own skills and knowledge. My instructor packed up unexpectedly leaving me to run a couple of schools on my own. I felt inadequate and started building relations and training with other local karate schools.

MB : Were there many instructors receptive to training together?

In the early 80's there weren't many but at least it was better than the mid-to late 70's when it was really a closed shop. I started by just joining in on their classes. Then if I through it would work I would suggest both our classes combine and train as a one off. With some schools we were able to have regular training session, sometimes tournaments and even weekend camps together.

MB : Was it hard to make these approaches to other instructors?

Yes, it was a bit scary at times going to a school and introducing myself in front of a sea of black belts wanting to try me out. I was not there for the fighting but most people thought I was, so even though the chief instructor may have had the right attitude most times, the students wanted to prove themselves. I understood this and knew most of them would get over it if I kept coming back each week and gave them as good as they gave me.

MB : Did it piss you off that a lot of these black belts wanted to knock your block off?

Well I put myself in that position because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and face a different reality. I just figured that's who they are and where they are at this time and that eventually they would move through it, I was there to learn. I guess it all depends on where you come from. Let me just give you a brief history of my background.

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