Our Instructors

Niko Gjoka, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Niko Gjoka

Chief Instructor

An accomplished 5th Dan in Karate and 2nd Dan in Kickboxing, Niko has competed around the world and has been inspiring people to change their lives through martial arts for more than 15 years.

As a professional British fighter and multiple title-holder, Niko understands that the benefits of training and success require rigorous discipline and commitment from both teacher and student, and high teaching standards are guaranteed in all our Academy classes.

Wayne McKenna, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Wayne McKenna

Senior Instructor

I’m a 2nd Degree Black belt in free-style Karate, I have over 20 years active martial arts experience, with 12 of those as an instructor. Although I have competition experience my forte is kicking, fitness, flexibility, and teaching. I am extremely active, and as well as training and teaching at NMA I also do cross-fit, run 10k’s on a weekly basis and regularly hike in the mountains.

As a child in the 80s I was drawn to martial arts through films like the Karate Kid, and the Kickboxer. Having joined a weekly Karate club I steadily gained experience and rose up the belts. After a 10-year hiatus to see out my teens I re-joined the Karate club in my early 20’s and quickly got back into the martial arts also supplementing with Kick-boxing, Muay-Thai, Eskrima, and later Tricking.

My biggest passion in life is being a good father. For many years I have taught children and adults. Having two of my own children has allowed me to be a Karate dad in every sense. I now enjoy passing on my experience and coaching skills to my own children and others proving for a closed loop positive reinforcement ethos.

Michael Ryan, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Michael Ryan

Senior Instructor

I began my Martial Arts journey back in 1986 , acquired my black belt 5 years later .

From then till now my love for Martial Arts has not diminished, my knowledge has grown along with my ability .

So come along to NMA academy and take advantage of the years of experience my fellow instructors and I have to offer.

Joel Clayton, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Joel Clayton

Senior Instructor

My initial interest in martial starts started at a young age, with some of my earliest memories involving me imitating my martial arts hero’s. This interest ultimately led me to be inspired to take up my passion properly.

I have been on my martial arts journey ever since, having had a period of time out in my younger days , and then returning to continue my experiences as an adult, achieving my black belt in Karate. I have trained under various instructors in the last, however have found that the level of coaching and skills to be far superior, since training and teaching with the instructor team at Niko Martial Arts Academy. Whether your a young child beginning your journey or a seasoned veteran, NMA has the skills and passion to push you to that next level.

Stephen Hirst, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Stephen Hirst

Senior Instructor

I am a 3rd Dan black belt in free style martial arts. I have trained in marital arts for well over 30 years training with some of the best instructors around. I became interested in martial arts as a child back in the 60s and early 70s hearing about Bruce Lee the on television and watching Kung-fu starring David Carradine. In the late 70s I started training in judo, and then in the 80s began training in kung-fu but needed more so I started training in kickboxing and it is what suited me, all the hard work, the effort 100% all the time and discipline.

I have been teaching now for more than 20 years. I still believe hard work will bring about the best results out of the students, as people say a bit of the old school. In my early days I entered a few competition’s and won a few trophies. I can’t see me ever giving up karate because I still enjoy learning and there is always something new.

Ryan Smith, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Ryan Smith


I have 9 years experience of training in martial arts and I am a 3rd Dan black belt in free style karate.

I first started karate as I was bullied at school, I had no confidence or self esteem so my Mum and Dad decided arranged for me to start martial arts to improve my confidence and how I felt with in myself.

The best thing I have ever done is start my martial arts journey, it has changed my life and mind set for ever. I’ve been training with Niko Gjoka since I started he has boosted my confidence and helped/supported me on my journey. Having the knowledge and opportunity to teach in martial arts and support kids in gaining confidence feels amazing.

Izzi Sykes, Martial Arts Club Instructor, Huddersfield

Izzi Sykes


I have 13 years of experience practicing martial arts and 3rd Dan Black Belt. Beginning at age 7, I have primarily trained freestyle karate and kickboxing, and am currently a member of Newcastle University’s kickboxing team.

I have found practicing martial arts extremely rewarding, fun, great for confidence and concentration, and over the years it has had an incredibly positive impact on both my mental and physical health. I feel very privileged to have trained with Niko from a young age and to now be able to share my passion for with others as an instructor at Niko’s Martial Arts Academy.

Contact us now to arrange your FREE one-week trial!