Meet the Team

Sensei Gary

Sensei Gary

Founder and Chief Instructor at Activ8 Self Defence
Sensei Gary
Gary is the owner of Activ8 Martial Arts

Experience: over 30 years

Martial Arts: Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo and Krav Maga.

Vision: To create an organisation that could be truly independent, able to choose and train its own instructors, whilst modernising the Jujitsu syllabus to become more innovative, accessible and realistic as a form of self defence in today’s society. He actively promotes and teaches strategies involving the use of body language, voice and eye contact in order to diffuse potentially threatening situations.

Special expertise: weapons defence and adapting the Jujitsu syllabus to give more emphasis on real-life situations that people sadly do find themselves in.

Before Activ8: Gary’s previous roles have meant he is only too aware of the need to focus on ways to avoid placing yourself in danger. Gary’s previous role in close protection required him to make decisive life and death decisions for himself and his team and he credits his Martial Arts training with providing him with the physical, mental and spiritual strength that this role demanded, not only when dealing with imminent threats, but also in allowing him to develop the inner peace required to make controlled decisions and remain positive in the face of negativity.

What makes a great instructor: A good instructor should have knowledge and skills far beyond the Jujitsu syllabus. All Activ8 instructors are taught to develop their knowledge and understanding of physiology, anatomy, and basic Japanese, but also how to foster a sense of self-worth, enthusiasm and positivity amongst the students they teach, regardless of their age or ability. There is an emphasis on the development of teaching skills which focuses on body language, the tone and modulation of the voice, behaviour management, inclusion and above all, how to make sessions challenging and fun. He encourages his own students to set themselves challenging personal targets and to engage in meditation and self reflection in order to overcome mental constraints, develop a positive approach and learn how to control responses in difficult situations in order to strive towards the achievement of their individual aims.

Sensei Jamie

Sensei Jamie

Activ8 Martial Arts Instructor

Experience: I have completed my stage 2 on the Activ8 teacher training course, have DBS certificates and paediatric first aid certificates.

Special expertise: I am an energetic and dynamic member of the Activ8 team, very quick in the dojo and love sparring.

What makes a great instructor: I am very passionate about martial arts and show this through my teaching, often showing the children new interest work and drills which are engaging and also test the children’s adaptability.

Sensei Gillian

Sensei Gillian

Safeguarding Manager | Health & Safety Officer

Experience: I have been a student with Activ8 for 9 years, starting relatively late in life aged 44 years. I have achieved the level of black belt and recently started teaching with Activ8 full time. I have paediatric first aid and DBS certificates and NVQ level 2 in instructing and coaching. I have experience in teaching both children and adults.

Special expertise: Using my background knowledge from the Lancashire constabulary to work with victims of domestic abuse and other violence to help them gain confidence and feel safe.

Sensei Laura

Sensei Laura

Senior Jujitsu Black Belt Instructor

Experience: I have been doing martial arts for 14 years, teaching with Activ8 for 8 years and hold the level of black belt 2nd Dan. I have NVQ level 2 in instructing and coaching, paediatric first aid and dbs certificates, and have reached the level of stage 3 instructor in the Activ8 teacher training course.

Special expertise: Working with all ages and belt levels, especially teenagers and those going for their black belts. Teaching women’s self defence and weapons training, proving this by being team leader of our workshop team.

What makes a great instructor: It’s important to build confidence, at the same time as improving technical ability.



Sensei Sarah

Sensei Sarah

Senior Black Belt Martial Arts Instructor

Experience: I am a black belt instructor and have been with Activ8 for 9 years. I completed my NVQ level 2 in instructing and coaching, have paediatric first aid and DBS certificates and have reached the level of stage 3 instructor in the Activ8 teacher training course.

Special expertise: Technical skill and speed, working with all ages and belt levels. I am team leader for our holiday club and part of our Activ8 parties team. I specialise in teaching weapons, as well as teaching ages 7-11 when their fine motor skills have developed and technique is ready to be improved.

Sensei Rachel

Sensei Rachel

Jujitsu & Self Defence Instructor / Education Leader

Experience: I have been teaching with Activ8 for 3 years after previously mentoring in music and dance for 11-13 year olds. I have also attained my stage 3 in the Activ8 teacher training course, have paediatric first aid and DBS certificates. I am also also a qualified ‘English as a Second Language’ teacher and can offer tuition to children and adults who are learning to speak English after moving from other countries or who have not learned English as a first language.

Special expertise: I have experience in teaching all ages and belt levels and Specialising in teaching 4-6 year olds and children with ASD/ ADHD using learning through play.

What makes a great instructor: My creative flair and skills in performance make me a magnet for the younger students who describe my lessons as fun and exciting.

Daniel Mawby

Daniel Mawby

Activ8 instructor & Personal Tainer

Experience: I have been on the gym floor and learning about fitness since the age of about 16 and I attained my level 3 Personal training and my Level 2 Gym Instructor qualifications

Special expertise: Muscle Toning, Fat Reduction, Cardiac/muscular endurance, Flexibility/stretching, Basic Self-Defence, Power Lifting, Strength Training, Body Weight Training, Simple Home Workout Training.

I also also offer trips to Spain in partnership with Activ8 Spain if you need to get away from all the stresses of life and really focus on getting fit, eating healthier and learning self-defence.

What makes a great instructor: I am passionate about fitness, nutrition, self-defence and most importantly, helping others with their fitness goals, transforming their lifestyle habits and getting fitter. In learning different moves and techniques in jujitsu and general self defence, I have also learnt ways to burn fat, tone muscle increase both cardiac and muscular endurance and help with flexibility.


Louise Goddard

Louise Goddard

Health and Wellbeing Coach

Louise Goddard is the founder of LegItLancaster and a well established name in the North West running community and has a unique understanding of physical and mental health issues.

Louise is an experienced athlete, currently on Team GB for Duathlon and representing England in the Marathon event at masters level.

Louise offers run coaching and mental fitness via exercise and rehab. (a qualified Sports Physio). She is a Mental Health Champion, supported by Sports England and England Athletics, encouraging people to run, walk and talk; via weekly groups, 1-2-1 sessions or the monthly #mentalhealthmile event in Williamson’s Park, Lancaster.

Louise works hard. She is knowledgeable, highly skilled and committed to improving the health of her clients; she works above and beyond the expectations of her role to engage people who would otherwise ‘run a mile’ in the other direction.  She is the perfect example of great things that can be achieved from humble beginnings.

Her focus on SMART goals and her core values of empathy and unconditional positive regard have helped service users overcome life limiting stigma related to their physical and mental health. The feedback they give is always positive. The improvement (and evident sense of achievement) in participants reflects the positive personal impact that Louise has on individuals. Louise’s use of medals as recognition of participants’ efforts is fantastic for their self esteem and also as a strategy to reinforce exercise habits.
Louise is imaginative and inventive in thinking about how to engage individuals of all abilities in using exercise to improve and maintain emotional wellbeing. As well as the monthly Mental Health Mile, Louise organises Couch to 5k courses to support new runners and more intensive weekly sessions for experienced runners.

All of our instructors:

  • Hold the highest level CRB/DBS disclosure check (sections 115 and 116 of the Police act 1997)
  • Have current and valid indemnity insurance
  • Are regularly trained in First Aid and Health and Safety
  • Hold relevant teaching qualifications other than just their martial arts grades that have been awarded by recognised awarding bodies
  • Undergo a rigorous coaching programme which involves 250 hours of practical teaching before taking a class of their own



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