Karate-dojo  UMO - Jan Knobel 

Al 35 jaar een begrip in Roosendaal



Founder Karate dojo UMO


                   Sensei Jan G. Knobel          
9.Dan WJKA
Autobiography Shihan Jan Knobel - 9th dan


     Born May 30th 1950, married and father of 3 sons. Went working on a cruise ship when he was 18 and visited many times the
     USA, what he still finds his favourite country. This resulted in a 3-week motorcycle trip at the West coast during his 25th wedding
     After his sailing period and after getting married to his wife Hanny, he went searching for something to do during the evening
     After seeing him play soccer, his father, former soccer coach of Ajax Amsterdam and the Dutch National Soccer team, advised
     him to hang his shoes to the tree because to his opinion: "He could not crash an egg with his feet". So he did and he went to
     practice karate.
     His first foreign teacher was sensei Miyazaki and his assistant Sawada. They made such a big impression on him that Jan
     committed himself fully to Karate. It started for him as a hobby and became a lifestyle and his living.
     After a period of teaching karate at a local sports school, Jan started his own dojo in 1983. The dojo was and still is called UMO,
     meaning feather. This crest was a description of Jan's character and lifestyle, done by his former Japanese teacher sensei
     Miyazaki, who has passed away. He thought the feather in the air is swift and uncontrolled, attached to an arrow the feather
     directs and controls the arrow. This he thought Jan's character was, happy and fun but straight to the point and honest. Jan
     himself thought this a great honour sensei Miyazaki described him this way.
     Jan practiced karate in those early days with sensei’s as Nakayama, Kase, Enoeda, Shirai, Ochi, Asai, Yahara, Abe.
     Sensei Abe he met in 1985 during his first visit to Japan. He practised with sensei Abe during the Gaijin class for several weeks.
     At that time entering the JKA instructors class or training with the JKA Instructors class was impossible.
     In the early days Jan had a lot of success during competitions. Several times Dutch champion, individual and team. Especially in
     his specialty Kata . In 1993 he transferred from the National Organization to his old love the JKA. He was sick and tired of politics
     and only wanted to practice and enjoy karate his way. Also the national organization was an all style organization and being so
     left a little room for traditional Karate. So he went to the JKA Asai fraction and stayed there until the last split. During his stay
     with sensei Asai he met sensei Amos and since then always stayed in contact with him. Jan developed his Karate under Asai
     sensei and became more exited. He still wanted to compete and he became European champion, 2nd in Johannesburg during the
     World  Championships 1993 and World champion in Greece 1996. This, In his eyes completed his Karate and he devoted himself
     to coaching his sons and the rest of his team. Until now the successes are hardly to count, several European champions, high
     scores during World championships, several 1st - 2nd and 3rd places. Being independent, after the Asai split, Jan and his team
     competed with all kinds of organizations. He thought of himself as a Ronin, a samurai without a master. He kept contact with all
     those organisations and finally founded the WJKA, a traditional organization which was and still is in Jan’s blood.
     Nowadays Jan shares his time between his dojo and courses he is giving throughout Europe.
     He is a well seen instructor in the Balkan countries and due to his efforts these Karateka’s are now able to travel throughout
     Europe to compete in several competitions. Although he is a very busy man Jan still finds some time for his hobbies: speed
     cycling with his 86 year old father who still has a perfect condition. During these daily trips they share their knowledge about
     their sport and Jan uses this knowledge to develop his Karate. Jan likes to workout alone in his dojo and likes driving through the
     country on his motorbike with his wife Hanny.
     He is founder of JKA the Netherlands and the WJKA.




Welcome to the 8th May 2009 Edition of THE SHOTOKAN WAY – The Online Shotokan Karate Magazine & Research Centre – the 10th Edition of TSW for 2009.
Last time on TSW, we presented the first part of an interview with Jan Knobel. The interview
clearly struck a chord with many, so thank you for the emails. Here is An Interview with Jan
Knobel Part 2. As I stressed in the first part of this interview, whilst being heavy at times and
being quite provocative, Jan’s passion for karate is very present. 
This interview is aptly titled ‘Straight shooting from the hip’ – apt not only because of the
standard of karate he promotes, but also because of his honest and somewhat uncompromising approach to karate. When I met with him a few months ago, two things struck me. There was a prominent sense of honesty around what he had to say – controversial it could be argued.
The other, most important, thing however was his passion and love for karate, welded strong
by a determination to retain its ‘Traditional’ following. I hope you all enjoy!
    Born - 30 mei 1950 in Roosendaal, the Netherlands
    Profession - Karate Instructor
    Started karate in 1973
    Grade 8. Dan WJKA-WUKO
    Founder of Karate dojo Umo
    Fouder World JKA Karate Association and JKA/WJKA the Netherlands.
    World Champion JKA 1996 - Greece
    European Champion JKA 1997 - Netherlands
    World Champion WJKA 2007 - Netherlands


Amongst countless students sensei Knobel educated numerous well known Dutch instructors such as:
    * Jan Knobel jr. - Karate dojo Umo
    * Gerrie van Tilburg - Karate do Ac. Itosu
    * Otto & Coen Bakker & Eugene van Meel - Karate dojo Tamashii
    * Richard Pluijgers - Karate dojo JKA Zeeland
    * Robin Huijer & Parastu Zahib - Karate dojo Archida
    * Conny Voermans, Kees Langenberg, Martin Michels & Ed Koevoets - Karate dojo San
    * Murat Atesyurek - Karate dojo Atesyurek