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Alex Shield

From quite a young age I have wanted to do Karate due to the well known Karate Kid and Jackie Chan films. When we moved house we had neighbours taking Karate lessons every Thursday. I asked where they trained and they told me Bletchley Leisure Centre. Lucky for me the club was just about to start a new beginner’s course.

I was just 7 years old when I took my first class with Sensei Tony Bode in the squash courts while Sensei Kidby took the higher grades in the hall. As soon as I saw the black belts I said I wanted to be one. Before the first lesson I thought Karate was all about fighting and not about disarming. I would never have guessed it was to first talk your way out of a fight or run. Karate should be the last resort. At the first lesson my Dad (Martin Shield) was just watching but joined in the next lesson because he liked what he saw.

I took my Black Belt grading about 6 years after starting karate. I was so nervous and scared when I took it – Sensei Kidby thought I was going to throw up and I looked like a ghost. Once I passed I was mind numbingly happy! It was the greatest feeling of my life.

I still thoroughly enjoy Karate because it keeps me fit and helps me in a rare situation where I’m attacked. All black belts are happy to help and no-one tries to be the best.



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