Always in our hearts...
IOGKF International remembers Sensei Geoff Pickup


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On Monday July 19th, 2010, IOGKF International lost another member of its family with the untimely passing of Sensei Geoff Pickup, IOGKF Thailand representative. Sensei Pickup sadly passed away from the result of a motorbike accident between the cities of Pataya and Bangkok. IOGKF International pays tribute to our brother...

Watch the tribute slide show video for Sensei Geoff Pickup below:


Sensei Geoff Pickup began training in Okinawan Goju-ryu under Sensei Andy Barker in Sheffield in 1995. His passion of Karate quickly evolved and Geoff spent time travelling overseas to attend Gasshuku’s with high ranking IOGKF instructors. Whilst on a holiday in Thailand, Sensei Geoff met his wife Aell and decided to set up a new home on Koh Samui island. There he constructed a large Dojo, beautiful home, a holiday resort and even opened a restaurant. He regularly brought Sensei George Andrews to Thailand to instruct and was a big influence on spreading Goju-ryu Karate to Thailand.

See the Island lifestyle show episode featuring Sensei Geoff’s Samui Dojo Below:

My Dear Friend and Training Partner Geoff

By: Sensei George Andrews, IOGKF 7th Dan, England OTGKA Chief Instructor

In the past few years Sensei George Andrews has been a regular guest instructor at Sensei Geoff Pickup’s Samui Dojo...

My heart is filled with sadness to hear you have gone, I carry on but all I hear is silence. I think “what if” and “but if only”, but it does not change destiny.

We have had some wonderful times together you and I and I will miss you, but you will always be in my heart; But what impresses me about you is your enthusiasm to achieve happiness for your family in the Samui Paradise. You started with nothing and you worked hard and made a contented life for you and your family.

Besides your family, your other passion was for Goju-ryu Karate-Do and you proved this by building your own Dojo and inviting many people from around the world to come, stay and train in such wonderful surroundings.

Also you helped to bring the best out in Children which is a mark of an angel. The children of Samui Dojo absolutely adored you and trained very hard, those children are some of the best technically I have seen in the world, even in such a warm climate, and this down to you and your hard work.

Farewell my friend I pray you find happiness in heaven.

Sensei George Andrews 

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GEOFF PICKUP: 1951 - 2010

By: Sensei Andy Barker, IOGKF 5th Dan, England EGKA

Sensei Andy Barker was the original teacher of Sensei Geoff Pickup. He pays tribute to his student below...

I received the tragic news about Geoff from Sensei George Andrews who has conducted Gasshuku’s at Geoff’s wonderful dojo on Koh Samui for a number of years now. For the second time in two years I found myself calling my seniors to tell them that a dojo member had been killed on his motorbike.

Geoff began his training with me in 1995 when I taught a class at what was then Sheffield Polytechnic. We shared a common interest in rock-climbing and after training we used to spend time chatting about our latest ascents and the routes we wanted to climb.

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Sensei Geoff Pickup as a white belt (back row on the left)

After a number of years of training at my dojo he retired from his job and set off for Australia, on his way back to England he called in to climb in Thailand which is where he met  Aell. He came home, sold up and moved to Thailand, there he married Aell, set up his dojo and started a business - Samui dojo and resort.

Geoff was very passionate about anything he undertook and threw himself heart and soul into his karate. When he lived in England he rarely missed a session and despite tight timetables on his return visits to England, he always managed to fit a session in.

He was a committed vegan “The Hizbollah of the vegetarian movement” according to chef Anthony Bourdin. I have fond memories of Geoff referring to his vegan ‘bible’ of safe to eat products; I used to tease him in the pub after training that surely he shouldn’t be drinking beer as yeast was a living thing.

His drive and passion were most evident in his new life in Thailand, he built from scratch a house with a fantastic dojo attached, holiday rooms to rent and most recently opened a restaurant. When visiting in 2006, I was amazed at what he had achieved in such a short space of time.

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Sensei Andy Barker instructing Sensei Geoff Pickup on Sanseru Kata at the Samui Dojo

Geoff’s happiness was complete when he and Aell were able to adopt their daughter Gila. He emailed me photos of the three of them together, he couldn’t have looked any more proud.

It is so tragic that when all the pieces appear to be in place, home, business and family that life deals such a cruel blow. Geoff was a loved and respected member of his community in Lamai, Koh Samui and known to IOGKF members around the world after his visits to Gasshuku’s in Okinawa, New Zealand, Australia and India. He will be missed by all of us and our thoughts are with his family and friends.