I began training when I was eight years old at Greenleys middle school in Milton Keynes. My instructor was and still is Sensei Kidby. I am now a black belt which I passed in April 2002. This was a brilliant day for me. I was so happy. It meant so much to me and my family because I had worked so long and hard for it. My Grandma bought me an embroidered silk black belt as a gift for passing my grading.
I also train with Sensei Kidby's eldest son Sensei James Kidby and Sensei O'Reilly and I help Sensei Bigsby with his club on Saturday mornings. I still try to train three or four times a week and go to all the CFTS courses because I am as keen now as when I started in 1996.
I was the first student to fully complete the student progress record card for which Sensei Kidby gave me my first heavyweight gi. I enjoyed the reason to practice and getting my card signed off so much that I am getting another one filled in. I wonder if I'll get another gi?
I have entered lots of CFTS open day competitions since I started karate and my favourite event was and still is kata. However since I was a brown belt I have had a growing interest in freestyle fighting. My favourite kata is Kanku-dai, which means looking skywards, I like this kata because all of the heian katas were derived from this kata, and it also has many other techniques and stances from many other katas in Shotokan.
Karate has played a big role in my life; it has made me more confident, disciplined and also very determined in whatever I do in life. Karate and Sensei Kidby have shown me that whatever I do in life I should do it the best I can. I believe that if we all do this we can all become a better people in and out of the dojo. Also it helps us succeed in what we may do throughout life by making us more determined. I think these are the most important lessons in karate more than just self-defence.
In the future, when I am older, and I have qualified as an EKGB instructor, I would like to open my own club and eventually maybe own a dojo. At the moment I am concentrating on my own training and development. I now realise that when you get to black belt level learning and expanding your knowledge does not stop, as Sensei has always said it has only just begun.