Sensei Ricky Diego Giardina
It was the late sixties when Sensei Ricky Diego Giardina first pulled on his gi and started to learn Kyushindo Karate at the club on Jacobs Wells Road in Bristol. His teacher, Frenchman G.S.Mayo 10th Dan, who was the Chief Instructor in England for Kyushindo Karate and Judo, swiftly graded Ricky black belt making him responsible for the Kyushindo Karate in the Bristol Club. The last grade that he received from Chief Mayo was the 4th Dan in 1977.
At the end of 1977, Sensei Ricky left England and moved to Sicily (Canicatti AG) where he immediately started teaching Kyushindo Karate and formed the Kyushindo International Association (K.I.A.). At the beginning, it was very difficult to introduce this style of Karate in Italy to the major martial arts federations. The first association of Karate to recognize Sensei Ricky’s grade was in Palermo, where he had to go through an exam in front of a commission.
After a couple years of teaching in private clubs and Sports Centers in the provinces of Agrigento and Caltanissetta, Sensei Ricky had the first generation of black belts in Italy for Kyushindo Karate.
In the eighties, K.I.A. was affiliated with F.I.A.M. (Federazione Italiana Arte Marziale) and W.A.K.O. (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations). Again, to be recognized 4th Dan in this style he had to go in front of a commission with teachers of different styles. Commission member, Sensei Luciano Parisi, concluded proceedings by telling Sensei Ricky, “whatever style you practice, you do it well, that style is valid”.
After he was recognized 4th Dan, F.I.A.M. also made him responsible for the province of Agrigento. Sensei Ricky took part in many national Karate seminars and, after 8 years, F.I.A.M. gave him his 5th Dan. In the middle of the eighties, Ricky taught various lessons of self defense to the Agrigento State Police. At the beginning of the nineties, Sensei Ricky received his 6th Dan from U.N.I.B., who later changed their name to F.E.K.D.A. (Federazione Europea Karate Discipline Associate). In the mid-nineties, Sensei Ricky was made 7th Dan and was made responsible for Kyushindo Karate in Italy for the F.E.K.D.A.
In the summer of 1997, Sensei Ricky moved back to England (Bristol) and was made F.E.K.D.A.’s UK representative. He started teaching in Bristol at various Sports Centers for the North Somerset Council. The K.I.A. group in England was also affiliated with the B.K.A. (British Karate Association) and took part in various open competitions for Kata and Kumite, gaining notable success.
In April 2000, the K.I.A. group in England organized a seminar at Weston-super-Mare and invited Claudio Pastore, the Chairman of the F.E.K.D.A., and Rosario Selman, European Champion of Karate. On this occasion, Sensei Ricky received his 8th Dan.
On 3rd November 2013, upon attending a seminar in Canicatti, Italy, Ricky was presented with his 9th Dan.
Sensei Ricky Diego Giardina has dedicated his life to studying Karate and has always looked after his students like part of his family. In Italy and the UK, the philosophy from Sensei Ricky to all his students has always been the same: “If you want to improve in Karate you should have personality, character and believe in what you are doing. A good Master or student must be honest with themselves before they can be honest to others and to achieve the best result it is very important to work as a team.All these principles should not only applied in Karate but also in every day life.”