"Karate is brilliant. I think everyone should do it."
-sensei dot naylor
Sensei Dot Naylor was Co-Founder and Instructor of the Chelmsford Karate Club and had over 50 years experience.
Sensei Dot was first introduced to Karate through her husband Charles Naylor (7th Dan) who was a founding member of the British Karate Federation's Liverpool Dojo in 1961.
However, it was following a demonstration in 1965 by Senseis Enoeda, Kanazawa, Kase and Shirai that Sensei Dot was inspired to practice Karate.
At that time, there were no women in the Liverpool area training in Shotokan Karate and so, after much persistence, a Ladies class was formed at the Red Triangle Dojo – consisting of Sensei Dot and three other ladies.
Sensei Andy Sherry, who at the time had just passed his 1st Dan Black Belt, and with the presence of Sensei Enoeda, held her first class.
Photo: Dot Naylor, white belt, being taught by Sensei Enoeda in one of her first lessons
She took her first grade under Sensei Enoeda on the 12th July 1966. When the other ladies left the club Sensei Dot had no option but to train with the men to continue her path.
At that time, there were a few men who felt she should not be there but she persevered and went onto gain her 1st Dan Black Belt, and last graded to 3rd Dan in 1978.
Sensei Dot has had the privilege to train under many great Karate Masters, including Sensei Nayakama. When she was training at the Red Triangle the two students that stood out for her were Terry O’Neill and Bob Poynton, who went on to become two of the most Senior Karate Instructors in the country.
In 1967 Sensei Dot and family moved to South Woodham Ferrers and formed with Sensei Charles Naylor the Chelmsford Karate Club. In the 70’s, Sensei Dot then started Kingswood Shotokan Karate Club and ran this for three decades.
Photo: Book Front Cover picture showing Dot Naylor demonstrating with Frank Vernon at the Liverpool Red Triangle Dojo (1966).
"don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do."
Photo: Sensei Dot with Megan, her youngest grandchild (2011)
In December 2014, Sensei Dot was the winner of the 'Unsung Hero' Active Essex Sports Award for 2014. The award was presented live on BBC Essex Radio in recognition of the passion and dedication that Dot has given to Karate and her students over the many years.
Then in June 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron awarded Sensei Dot with a Point of Light Award and said "Dot has a been a pioneer of women's Karate and has trained and mentored thousands of young people over her 50 years as a volunteer. I'm delighted to make Dot a Point of Light".
In May 2016, Sensei Dot was the only woman in the small, elite group of people who had been with the KUGB from the very start, celebrating the Organisation's 50th Anniversary.
Sensei Dot continued to teach at the Chelmsford Dojo up until as recently as 2010. Her style of teaching and method did not change and as a result won her the admiration of all her students both past and present.
She is extremely popular both within her own Dojo and in the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB), attending many courses and competitions, even when she was not teaching.
Her involvement with Karate has been a family affair, not only with her husband, the late Sensei Charles Naylor, but also her daughter Sensei Jane and son Mark who are both Black Belts. This passion has cascaded through to three of her grandchildren – Bronte, Dominic and Megan.
Photo: Sensei Dot celebrates 50 years with the KUGB (photo courtesy of Bernard Rose)
In 2017 Sensei Jane and Richard took over Chelmsford Shotokan Karate Club due to Sensei Dot's health issues and dementia, yet she remained strong and passionate about karate until she passed away on the 7th of March 2021.