Sensei James began the study of Karate at the age of nine (9) in 1979 under Shihan Theodore Tsanidis at the IKO’s original dojo in Earlwood. Sensei James trained as a boy through the rigorous exercises and demands of the time and obtained his blackbelt (Shodan) in 1985 at the age of fifteen (15). In the same year, he became an assistant instructor under the supervision of Shihan Tsanidis at the Earlwood dojo and a year later taught classes on his own. In 1988 at the age of eighteen(18) he was awarded his 2nd Dan (Nidan) and also entered tertiary education the same year at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) studying Structural Engineering. The demands of the course forced him to retire in 1988 however he recommenced his training in Karate in 1993 when he graduated.