The People of KRMA - Instructor Profiles

Lance StrongGrandmaster Lance Strong MNZM, 9th Degree Black Belt (Hanshi)

Lance has been involved in the martial arts for over 60 years, and an instructor for 38 years.

He currently teaches classes at the Thames Dojo as well as visiting other KRMA schools to teach classes and seminars.

“Lance is a visionary who sees martial arts as a continuous journey toward self improvement. He is a true teacher who is able to guide students to the door of knowledge and inspire them to enter and discover themselves.” Grandmaster Leo Fong 10th Degree Black Belt - Founder of Wei Kuen Do

Grandmaster Ava Strong MNZM, 8th Degree Black Belt (Kyoshi) KRMA Masters Board

Ava is the highest ranked woman in KRMA and has been studying the Martial Arts for over 38 years.
In July 2019 Ava has received her 8th Degree Black Belt sanctioned by Grand Master Leo Fong 10th Degree Black Belt USA, and the KRMA Masters Board

Ava worked for five years as a stunt person and stunt double on the television shows "Xena" and "Hercules" and also did stunt work on the movie 'The Last Samurai.'

Ava has trained extensively in the USA and Canada in Karate, Kyusho Jitsu, Jiu Jitsu, Arnis and Wei Kuen Do under some of the worlds leading martial artists. 

“Through comprehensive martial arts training we bring women to the realization that being a woman is no longer a sign of vulnerability; it is a reflection of their inner strength.”

“Our self defence syllabus has a strong focus on removing the victims from society. As a result of their training, women and girls gain real life skills and strategies, and develop the inner strength needed to live lives unrestricted by fear or limitation.”

Kyoshi Paul Hinton, 6th Degree Black Belt (Rokudan), KRMA Masters BoardPaul Hinton

Paul is a foundation member of the KRMA Masters Board. He ran the Thames and Remuera Dojo for many years, and has been responsible for managing the NZ  KRMA organization. In addition to being a highly ranked martial arts and self defence instructor, Paul also runs his own highly successful home loans business.

Involved in the martial arts since he was a child, Paul has competed and studied in the USA, and has been a Martial Arts Instructor for over 25 years.
Paul comes from a policing background and worked in the front line in the South Auckland Area, where he also served as a member of the Team Policing Unit.

Paul believes that, "Martial arts training must work in the real world. Any art must teach real skills for all ranges and types of combat. If you don't teach students skills that will work under pressure then you're doing them a disservice."

It's important that KRMA is a vehicle for the student's personal growth, and that the lessons that come from the philosophy of our art help students to succeed in all areas of their life."


Shihan Phil Murray, 5th Degree Black Belt (Rokudan) KRMA Master Board
Phil Murray

Phil started training with Kiaido Ryu in 1999 in Cambridge Dojo. In 2005 he took over the Instructors role at the school. In 2008 Phil attained his 3rd Degree Black Belt and Sensei ranking. He's currently head instructor for Hamilton and the Waikato Region.

“I've always wanted to do martial arts ever since I was a small child.” “It always seemed like a great thing to get involved in; to be able to defend yourself and others.” “It wasn't until I got started that I realized it was so much more than that.” “It's all about family and responsibility and more than just punching and kicking; it teaches self control and is a great builder of self esteem.” “The students are my biggest motivation; watching them grow and develop, especially the juniors, is a very rewarding aspect of teaching.”

“One of the biggest goals I have has to do with developing my students as martial artists.” “There's no higher compliment than being able to send someone to a grading and watch them do really well, and to see the smile hidden under all the sweat when they walk off the floor with their new belt; it 's tremendously rewarding.”

“So my goal is to make sure that they smile at the end of the grading and be proud of themselves.” “My second and personal goal is to carry on through the ranks and become the best martial artist that I can be.” “There's always something new to learn no matter what rank you are.” “It's important to me to take every opportunity for growth and learning that is thrown my way.”



Renshi Paul Scott, 4th Degree Black Belt (Yondan) KRMA Masters Board

My martial arts journey began in the late 1990’s, attending informal training sessions with Sempai Andrew Burns based mainly around stand up fighting. A few years later my eldest son Kane joined the KRMA Otumoetai Dojo in 2001 when he was 8 years old and I followed, attending my first formal training session in January 2002 under Renshi Trevor Hope.
I found the KRMA training environment enjoyable and training alongside Kane (now Sempai Kane) I was able to be actively involved in his journey. Watching him grow both as a person and martial artist was a very special experience for me. As we learned the techniques, principles and values I was impressed that the main focus of Kiaido Ryu was self improvement through Martial Arts training and that the comprehensive syllabus enables the development of a ‘complete’ Martial Artist. Kane and I received our Black Belts together in June 2007.

Sempai Kane now pursues a degree in Computer Sciences at Victoria University in Wellington. The values, principles and techniques he has learned through his training has given him the skills to better deal with the challenges and pressures of modern life, this is invaluable from a parents perspective. I am now the instructor of the Katikati Dojo and driven by my own personal experiences, my main motivation for teaching students is aligned with the Kiaido Ryu mission statement ‘making a positive difference in people’s lives through Martial Arts’


Warren GabbSensei Warren Gabb, 3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)

Warren operates the Kawakawa Dojo, Northland and has been training in KRMA for 18 years. He graded to 3rd Degree Black Belt in December 1999.

For the last decade Warren's been involved in Full Contact Karate Knockdown tournaments and has fought against some of the countries top fighters. Warren has been the NZ and Australian IKO1 Super Heavyweight Champion.
In recent years he has competed in the USA, Japan, Russia and Australia. In his own words "This is a true test of technique, focus, power and spirit".

Warren's martial arts and life philosophy is to always have an open mind and show humility.

Renshi Sam Taaka, 4th Degree Black Belt (Yondan)


I began my Kiaido Ryu journey in 2007 under the instruction of Hanshi Lance and Kyoshi Ava, seven years old and unable to tie my own belt. From then on, I persistently trained towards my black belt which I achieved in 2010 and my second degree which I achieved in 2012. Prior to that and from then on, my martial arts career has been highlighted with numerous achievements such as being awarded the National Junior Girl Budo and competing and placing in several Kiaido Ryu tournaments. My proudest achievement to date has been opening a junior dojo in Thames with my fellow instructor Dai Sempai Honour Israel.

For me, being an instructor means that I can give back to the Kiaido Ryu system and it makes me appreciate how much time, effort and work is put into helping a student become the best version of themselves. Also, it enables me to create and strengthen relationships with students and become a positive role model for martial arts students.

My favourite aspect of Kiaido Ryu is not only am I given the tools and support I need to become the best version of myself, it is given to me in a safe family environment. Kiaido Ryu is not about fighting or medals, but about learning, growing and achieving together, which is what I aim to contribute to as an instructor.

Favourite quote: "Don't train until you get it right, train until you can't get it wrong."

Dai Sempai James Conner – 2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)

James had always had an interest in physical training and joined the boxing club and Nam Wah Pai martial  arts at the age of 10 for a few years.  

Later in life after getting married and having a family 1 of his 3 daughters wanted to join a martial arts system for the self defence. In 2001 James found Kiaido Ryu Martial Arts run by Sensei Trevor Hope in Otumoetai.  He went along to a “have a go” night so he went along and found it interesting with many different elements to it so he joined. Later on his daughter stopped training and he enjoyed it so much he kept going. 

Many years later and under the guidance of his new Otumoetai Instructor Sensei Les Scott he attained his Black Belt in 2012.  James said “It was one of the highlights of my martial arts journey”

Now with 2 years of Black Belt training under his belt and having completed his Instructor’s Certificate in 2008 he has decided to open a Kiaido Ryu school in Papamoa.

James said “I would like to give back to the community and have the opportunity to watch students go on their own personal journey and be able to train with them to achieve high levels of success”.

Favourite Quote: “If at first you don’t succeed get a bigger hammer”


 Dai Sempai Richard Harwood, 2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)


Richard has been training with Kiaido Ryu since 2001. He currently teaches classes at Hunua Dojo and attend as many camps and seminars that I can each year. Richard feels that there's a definite need in today's society to help both children and adults to develop them into productive members of their communities. "I believe that KRMA is an extremely effective system to help achieve this." "Promoting healthy living, fitness and effective self defence develops personal motivation, confidence, and self discipline that can be applied to all walks of life." "I believe it also compliments any other sport or activity".

"I'm ever conscious that people are relying on me for support to improve their own lives. So for the reasons above, and knowing my training is advancing my own development, I'm determined to do the best I can for them. Being able to participate in an art form that includes all age groups is a rarity in many activities and sports."

"I'm continually inspired by those around me who strive to succeed; who are trying to change their lives for the better and  who are humble in their success."

"My children are both members of KRMA and a great inspiration for me; as I aim to be for them. It's a family affair." "Watching them grow and develop as they achieve each new level has been a wonderful experience." "They do very well at school, achieving A's, and winning events in various school sports. I put a lot of this success down to their KRMA training and the 'can do' attitudes that it develops."

"KRMA gives me a strong sense of purpose and belonging. I believe everyone strives for respect and to be a great role model. My KRMA studies have helped me attain this, and will continue to do so during my life's journey." "I have an ambition to develop and grow my KRMA school into a very real resource for my community. To do this I actively continue my own training to increase my skills and knowledge."

Favourite quote: “Yes you can!”

Shihan Mark Baxendine, 5th Degree Black Belt. (Rukodan) - Australia

My life as a martial artist in began in 1974; four years in to an amazing decade for martial arts, with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Benny Urquidez, Muhammad Ali, Leo Fong, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Don Wilson, David Carradine, the Machado Brothers, Jackie Chan, and many more leading the way.

Starting in Judo with my dad, I trained 3 nights a week and have done so ever since; even managing to train on my wedding day much to the dismay of my lovely wife Karen. I've trained and fought in many styles over 40 years but none more complete than Kiaido Ryu; the people make the art. Today, training and living Kiaido Ryu in Australia, I also teach M.M.A and armed and unarmed combat, Fighting is a passion. When you first meet Lance Strong, you discover some people do martial arts, and some are martial artists, he is the latter.

My favorite quotes:

“This is the true joy in life; that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; that being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what ever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” Sir George Bernard Shaw

“We must not cease from exploration. And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time,” T.S. Elliot

You are only ever as good as your last lesson, whether it be as Master to Student or indeed Student to Master. The matrix of all marital arts is Kata, it alone allows you to train in all four worlds at once; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

If you are ever in OZ come and train with us.

Shihan Michael Thompson, 5th Degree Black Belt (Rukodan) Australia

Michael  started his martial arts journey as a teenager in Country Victoria, moving to Melbourne in the early 90’s. Since that time martial arts has grown and matured along with him.  Michael now runs the Kiaido Ryu Dojo in Bendigo and still enjoys helping students achieve goals that they thought could not be achieved.

For Michael the study of the martial arts is more than being able to defend oneself, it is a journey of self discovery that makes each of us a better person. He endeavours to guide students through the journey of the martial arts, helping them rise to the challenges of training and bring those lessons learnt into their own lives.

Fascinated by Kata and their applications, Michael says "Kata hold the secrets of Karate and I enjoy the challenge of deciphering them and sharing that knowledge".

“I learn something new everyday”
“The only stupid question is the one not asked”


Next Event

Jiu Jitsu Seminar with Shihan Phil
Sunday March 14th   10am-2.30pm
Thames Jack Mclean Community Center
Rolleston Street

Register with your Instructors by Fri 12th
$30 if registered $35 at the door
Orange Belts and up may attend.
This seminar will be covering Positional Drills so make the most of
Shihans knowledge and come and up grade your skills.
These seminars are always a lot of fun so register asap.
Remember to bring your water bottle & lunch.

Warriors Wisdom Part 1.
Fri March 5th 7pm start - ends Sunday 7th March 1.30pm
You still have time to get your name in and join us for a great
weekend in the beautiful Kauaeranga Valley, Thames.
Learn how to make a plan for your life and follow the skills taught on this course to help make the changes you may need to move forward for greater results.
Anyone can attend this course they do not have to be Kiaido Ryu Student.
Want more information then contact us below and we will send through more details
contact: Lance Strong MNZM or Ava Strong MNZM





Postponed and rescheduled to above date

August Saturday 15th   10am - 2.30pm
Just about time for the All Ranks Training Day.
Make sure you let your Instructor know you are attending by Thursday 13th August.
It will be an awesome day of rank specific training and a little bit of Hanshi Seminar. The biggest thing about it will be the fact we can all catch up and find out how everyone is doing.

The Gathering function in the evening will be awesome socialising  having a little dance it seems almost like normal life hahaha. 
Come and enjoy it with us. See your Instructor to get your last minute ticket. More details below:

August, Saturday 15th Thames - 10am - 2.30pm $25
Thames Jack Mclean Community Recreation Centre
Thames High School, Rolleston Street

After training join KRMA friends and family at 

THE GATHERING” function at GBD

Nibbles and a Disco will be included in Ticket with a Casual Dress code.
More details and cost to follow.
Make sure you let your Instructor know if you would require tickets as numbers will be limited.

Next Grading Day will be:
December 4th Black Belts
December 5th All Ranks

Other dates to for rest of year are:
Warriors Wisdom Part 1 –August 21,22,23
Warriors Wisdom Part 2 – Sept 18,19,20 TBC
All Ranks Camp – Nov Sat 14, 15   (at this point still a go)
last being the Gradings in Dec 4,5