I started karate in 1999 at the age of 11, shortly after my brother Josh. We began training at Emerson Valley School under the instruction of Sensei Bode, along with several of our friends; though out of our original group only two other people have continued karate. Sensei Bode eventually persuaded my mother that she might enjoy karate and so she began training Thursday nights with Sensei Kidby at Bletchley.
As we progressed, Josh and I also started attending the Bletchley club and later also stared attending the club at Newport Pagnell. Our younger brother Jacob started a few years later. Over the years we have been involved in many of the courses and events, and we have entered several competitions, our speciality being the "Spurrell team kata"!
Although mum started after us, since she was a senior, she progressed through the belts faster and soon Josh, mum and I were all at the same grade which enabled us to train and practice together, something that definitely contributed to our successful Shodan grading in October ‘05.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses in our karate and I think training as a family has really helped us all improve and I’m sure they would agree. We have also been helped by many of the other senior grades and formed strong friendships with the other members of our club, an aspect of karate that really appeals to me. I took a short course in ju jitsu, offered at school, in order to widen my knowledge of martial arts and learn a different style of fighting that I could adapt to my karate. Many of my friends and family also do martial arts, my French cousin is a regional judo champion, my boyfriend trains in ju jitsu and my uncle is also a black belt in Shotokan.
Because of my eye-sight, I have always found sport difficult, particularly bat and ball sports as I have defective 3D vision, so I was really glad that karate offered an opportunity to do a physical activity that involves both mental and physical aspects, and requires a range of skills. My favourite part of karate is kata, as I enjoy learning new kata and developing them over time, and my dance training at school means I am good at remembering sequences. I also enjoy weapons training, such as knife defence and bo kata, as it offers an even wider knowledge of self-defence and provides new challenges.
I hope to continue my karate at university and intend to train at home in my breaks. Karate has really helped me develop as a person and over the years I think it has taught me a lot about discipline and self control, attributes that will help me in all aspects of my life, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to keep learning new skills and developing my karate in the future.