I began my karate training in January 2006, at the age of 34, after a discussion at work with Sensei Saunders. He persuaded me to give karate a try and I attended a beginner’s course with my stepson at the Clapham club under Sensei McClagish.
After the initial self conscious, awkward moments experience by all adults, I began to enjoy the training and relish the challenge of learning something completely new. I slowly but surely worked my way up through the grades over the next few years, with no real target or plan in mind. I just wanted to improve my techniques, and general fitness.
After I had attained 3rd Kyu, I injured my back and was unable to train for approximately 7 months. During this enforced lay off, I still attended classes to watch, which I found both interesting but ultimately very frustrating.
When I returned to training, I quickly caught up and aimed for my 2nd Kyu grading with renewed vigour. Having achieved 2nd Kyu, I set my sights on 1st Kyu some 6 months later and achieved this at a grading under Sensei Kidby.
I settled back a little, and just enjoyed the pleasure of training and learning with no pressures of grading, and still with little thought to the future. This continued for about 3 years.
It was only after a fateful conversation with Sensei McClagish after training one night, where he asked me to give some thought to my karate career. My invitation to grade to Shodan swiftly followed, and I graded in March 2013. This really was the end of one journey, and the beginning of a new one. I am getting used to the responsibility of being a Shodan, and I am enjoying the challenge of assisting Sensei McClagish (and the other Dan Grades at Clapham) teach and demonstrate in class.
For the future, I want to continue to enjoy my karate, stay injury free, and learn more of what this martial art has to offer.