I began training with the then Ifield SKC in 1995 when my eldest son Carl, decided he wanted to try Karate. We were lucky enough to discover the club after a recommendation by a friend – something I’ve been thankful for so many times over the years.
Rather than sitting watching from the sidelines, I found myself wanting to join in. I had trepidations as I was, I thought, rather old to start, but I was made very welcome and so my Karate journey began.
I was lucky I had Carl training alongside me and we progressed together through the grades. In fact we often had to partner each other for gradings and at one point, Sensei Ohta, the grading examiner, asked Robin whether we liked each other as, apparently, it looked like we were trying to kill each other! So it was with Great pride that we both gained our Shodans together at Crystal Palace in 1998.
As I have got older I have developed Osteo Arthritis in most of my joints and spine but none the less have continued to train as best I can. When I got to Sandan I swore that would be the last grading for me as I was struggling to be able to perform kicks because of my knees and hips and so could no longer perform the required syllabus combinations and Katas. However, Sensei Frank Brennan ( after consultation with Robin and then Sensei Sherry) gave me an adapted syllabus which allowed me to go for my Yondan. It was tough as I had only 2 months preparation to get the combinations into my somewhat questionable memory but I went, I performed and I succeeded – it was a wonderful feeling! However, my proudest moment was when Carl passed his Godan grading – I admit it, I was somewhat emotional but his Gi was already dripping so my few tears of joy didn’t really matter. However, after again stating that I was finished with gradings, the seed has been planted again, ( thanks soooo much chaps!!) so who knows, maybe I’ll fill my licence book too.