Frances Livesey


I commenced karate late in life and I was/am a true mature student!


In January 2000 I went to the beginner’s course at Kempston under the instruction of Sensei Kidby. The feeling of trepidation that I felt when entering the dojo for the first time will stay with me forever – as will the feeling of elation when I graded to Shodan in October 2006 at the ripe old age of 55!


I continue to train at Clapham Club under Sensei McClagish, 5th Dan, and while I have no desire to run my own dojo I do enjoy assisting with the karateka, especially the new students. I also assist as much as possible with the administration.


For anyone who considers karate is not for them I would encourage them to try the beginner’s course first, and then decide. The sense of achievement you feel when you pass a grading is worth every ache and pain! Each and every black belt started as a white belt and worked their way through the grading’s, so they know exactly how you feel.


In March 2009, just 2 weeks before my 58th birthday, I surpassed all my expectations and graded to Nidan. I cannot express how humble that made me feel given the time and dedication put in not just by me, but also by my Sensei who has always believed in me, and by the other students who always encourage and help me, as they do all the students who attend the classes.


Karate plays an important part of my life, and I hope to continue for many years to come.

A black belt is a white belt who didn’t give up.