Our Story…

Our Story

Through nearly 40 years of controlled, organic growth under the watchful eye of David Jacobs (SHIHAN) 7th Dan Karate & 7th Dan Tai Chi Chuan, SAMA has expanded all over Sussex, and branched into Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset, Kent, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

SAMA is the largest independent martial arts group in the UK, with more than 10,000 members training in more than 500 locations. For more on our history visit:

All classes and gradings are Pay-As-You-Go, giving the student the flexibility to fit their training around their busy lifestyles and not be penalised for illness, injury, or family and work commitments.

SAMA Karate offers three distinct martial art disciplines for students to experience. We cater for all age ranges with Karate, and we also offer youths and adults Sport Kickboxing and Tai Chi Chaun Kung Fu.

We specialise in teaching Children’s Karate, and have done since 1985, when our very first after school lesson was launched at The Vale School in Worthing, following our first Head Teacher approval from Tony Lovett.

Senior Leadership Team & Structure of SAMA

Chief Instructor & Founder:
Alan Gibson (HANSHI) 9th Dan, began training 60 years ago in Govan, Glasgow. After moving South in 1978, he opened a small dojo in Brighton called The SAMA Karate Club . He continued to teach in and around Brighton for over twenty years until he passed many of his day-to-day classes to his two sons, who now lead the East Sussex areas.

Assistant Chief Instructor & Black Belt Grading Examiner :
David Jacobs (SHIHAN) 7th Dan, joined SAMA in Brighton in the early 80s. Taught by Hanshi In 1985, he moved to Worthing launch his first classes, which were an instant success. More than 30 years later, he continues to teach and train every day – a true example to us all. He leads the West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Wiltshire and Berkshire Areas, and is also founder of the SAMA Tai Chi Chuan Kung Fu system.

Senior Grading Examiner:
Tim Klus (KYOSHI) 6th Dan, also started training in Brighton in the early 80s. Along with Shihan, they achieved their Black Belts together and opened SAMA Worthing in 1985 and have watched it expand ever since. Kyoshi still teaches every day and travels further afield to many of the larger gradings. Together with his wife Shelley, they manage the SAMA Head Office.

Regional & Area Managers:
These are seniors, either 5th Dan (RENSHI) or 4th Dan (SENSEI). Many of them manage their own areas, some having multiple areas, and they have teams of Instructors working for them. All Regional and Area Managers have over 20 years experience in SAMA. They are the highest rank within their individual areas.

Senior Instructors:
These will hold the level of 4th or 3rd Dan and are known as SENSEI. Many of them are full time Instructors teaching over 200 students a week. A SENSEI is a senior rank and will hold at least 15 years experience in SAMA.

Area Instructors:
Hold the level of 2nd Dan or 1st Dan and are known as SEMPAI. Many of them will be a full time Instructor. A 2nd Dan SEMPAI (wearing a blue badge) will be a SENIOR SEMPAI, and will have around 10 years experience, quite often having already produced their own black belt students.

A 1st Dan SEMPAI (wearing the red & gold badge) is a new, but fully qualified Instructor. They would have had at least 5 years experience in SAMA, and some may even teach full time, working towards producing their own Black Belts.

Assistant Instructors:
Mostly Black Belts, but sometimes lower belts too. An Assistant Instructor acts like a Teaching Assistant to the lead Instructor, helping the students in their classes, and may even teach their own group. They may also be in training to become a full time Instructor themselves.