Meet our Instructors 


Sam Gladdy Sensei 3rd Dan Training Officer

I was born in 1977 in London where I have lived ever since.
I started my martial arts training in 2009 where I was instantly taken with the no-nonsense style of Jiu Jitsu that is Ishin Ryu. The austere tutelage suited me from the outset, and although I went home limping on both legs and aching all over, I was hooked. Following that first night I began training twice a week in the Borehamwood dojo in Hertfordshire, where I went on to partake in every chance for extra training courses, and moved up through the gradings at every opportunity. Since then I have been privileged to travel to many countries as part of Kevin Pell Hanshi’s team, where we have taught to international audiences and performed demonstrations of our style. Under Kevin Pell Hanshi’s guidance I went on to attempt my Shodan grading in 2016, which, after much blood, sweat and toil, I passed. I have continued to both train and teach on the mat, and have since been awarded the rank of 3rd Dan. My personal philosophy on the martial arts are closely aligned with the club ethos. I believe strongly in developing mental resilience, fortitude and agility, maintaining fit and strong physical conditioning and combat endurance, and developing realistic stress-proven techniques and resolute principles to base them on. While my main focus is on contemporary self-defence, I embrace the history of our ancient martial art and look towards the future of a constantly evolving system

Lou Panteli Sempai

Training Officer
I recognised the value of self-defence as young as ten years old when I escaped from the hands of a paedophile. My Greek parents believed sports were for boys. But remarkably viewed self-defence as a valuable life skill that every young woman should possess. They signed me up at a young age to a local Ju jitsu club in Stoke Newington. They hoped it would protect me from bullies at school and the rough Hackney estate I grew up on. It turned out to be lifesaving.

I went on to practise Judo at my local comprehensive school. My tiny stature but tall confidence earnt me the nickname, “Mighty Mouse” as I eradicated school bullies with my fighting skills. At the age of sixteen, my father had heart surgery. I had to get a part-time job to support my mother. I was heart-broken that I was unable to join a club to continue my journey into martial arts. But the skills I had learnt so far were a toolbox I always carried with me.

Twenty-three years later I found myself returning to Ju Jitsu. When I stepped into Borehamwood Dojo for the first time, I realised how much I had missed martial arts. When I first met Kevin Pell, I remember the look of surprise on his face as I effortlessly executed five Palm Heel Strikes. The skills that I had been taught as a child had never left me.

Over many years, I dedicated myself to Ju jitsu. I trained at Borehamwood Dojo twice per week. Absorbed as much knowledge as I could. Regularly trained at other Ishin Ryu dojos. Stayed strong and fit outside of the dojo. The reward was that I never missed or failed a grading. When I successfully attained my Sho Dan Ho, it was an honour to be able to officially share all that I had learnt to other students.

As a female instructor, I am on a mission to empower other women to take up self-defence. Sexual harassment, domestic violence and violent attacks on women are not going away. It’s a myth if you think that these crimes are only committed by strangers or an assailant larger or stronger than you. I train with male and female partners of all sizes and strengths. I am not naïve; self-defence may not save me from being assaulted. But Ju jitsu has taught me awareness and potential life-saving combat skills. It has made me feel powerful and strong.

I can only speak for myself. But for me, the greatest benefit is the physical confidence it has given me. Confidence that certainly helped me as a child when I needed it most.

Mark Hyden-Smith Renshi 4th Dan 

Mark Hayden-Smith Renshi sadly passed away at the age of 55…., he was a much-loved children’s teacher at Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu. His first classes began at Manor Lodge School, Hertfordshire in 1992. He was the first member of Soke Kevin Pell’s Yudansha and well respected by everyone within the organisation.

He was the head of children’s training and development within Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu, teaching thousands of children throughout the county, the foundation of children’s training was down to him and all our instructors still use his ways today. He was loved by all the students and parents with his cheeky smile and bubbly personality.

Reaching the rank of 4th Dan and awarded the title of Renshi by Kevin Pell (Soke), his lifelong friend and instructor, he left a hole in all our lives that will never be filled. His life will be celebrated every year by your fellow Yudansha, Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu, and all who were lucky enough to know him. With stories from his teens when you first met Soke on the farm in the mid 70’s, to singing his favourite Karaoke song “Ernie” at many seminars and trips away with the club.

Mark Hayden-Smith Renshi 16th May 1957 – 08th December 2012
“Champagne for everyone”