John van Weenen was born in 1941 in Enfield. He was not an academic at school nor an outstanding sportsman but proved to be an exceptional swimmer representing our country. By the 1960's he had an interest in martial arts but was frustrated by a lack of information on them. This interest was realised when, having emigrated to Australia, he responded to a karate advertisement by the late Moss Hollis (3rd Dan). After three years of training three or four times a week he was awarded shodan which he was later to retake in Japan under Kanazawa sensei.
In 1966 he returned to his native Enfield and opened his first dojo in Kanazawa 's Karate Union of Great Britain. Shortly afterwards Kanazawa returned to Japan leaving Van Weenen feeling lost and missing the teachings of Kanazawa so he found himself following and ended up training in the JKA headquarters in Tokyo.
In the years that have followed Van Weenen has taught many thousands of students many of whom now run their own clubs and associations. Currently 8th Dan he is an excellent karate-ka, a great motivator and manipulator. He can make you feel anything is possible giving you great self–belief. Through his beliefs, philosophy and utilising his pull of many years over many, many students much varied charitable work has been achieved. He has worked tirelessly to get aid to Albania over the last decade, which has resulted in him receiving the Mother Theresa award for humanitarian work receiving it from her good self shortly before her death. He has also received he MBE from the Queen.