I began training in 1995 when I was 14 years old. I had taken part in a number of sports previous to this including football and also competitively swimming for my local town of Crawley, but had become bored of both. I wanted to try something new and the martial arts interested me (most likely influenced by some of the TV programmes at the time). I was very fortunate to have had the recommendation of family friends to try the then Ifield SKC (now IchiBan) and have been training at the club ever since.
One of my earliest karate memories was making the trip to Marshall Street for a grading (I was 9th Kyu at the time). Thanks to a combination of London traffic and public transport, we arrived late, and the grading had already started. Fortunately we were all able to grade and was made all the better by getting a ‘good’ comment from Sensei Enoeda on passing.
In May ’98 I passed my Shodan grading at Crystal Palace on the same day my Mum, Su, passed hers.
Over the years I have competed at both regional and national levels and have a number of medals, being placed in both individual and team events. I am also a KUGB qualified instructor. I passed my judges qualification in 2016 and recently passed my referees qualification. I hope to also become an instructor assessor as well in the not too distant future.
The main enjoyment I get from Karate is not only my own continued development, but also teaching/coaching others and seeing their improvement, be that something measurable like achieving their next belt or competition success, or something small like nailing a stance during class.
In April ’17 I passed my Godan after months of very intense training and overcoming injuries. I am very grateful for the extra support I had from my Instructor Robin Dale. Kata with kettlebells – an experience that will never be forgotten!