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Joe Young

When I was around 8 years old, I discovered a show on TV called Hi! Karate. I really enjoyed this and was fascinated by it which convinced me to have a go myself. Fortunately, when the next club list came out at school, karate was right at the top and I was first to put my name down. So in September 2011, at age 9 I started my first karate class at Bushfield with Renshi Kidby.

From early on I really enjoyed grading, courses and competitions and I loved the whole idea that you had to work your way up the belt system. It gave me a real sense of pride when I earned my next belt.

Although not being a very confident person at the time, around 5th Kyu I began doubting myself and not wanting to go. I felt like I couldn’t do it and would sometimes refuse to go. However, Renshi Kidby believed in me and with a lot of encouragement from him and my parents I committed myself and found that “oomph” that Renshi Kidby had been telling me to look for.

My focus on karate came at price though, as at this time around 3rd Kyu (when I knew karate was beginning to be more than just getting your next belt) I also played football. But with karate getting a lot more serious and training taking a lot more time than it used to, I realised I had to give one of them up - of course I chose to give up football.

A while after this, I had my 1st Kyu grading which I successfully passed. Getting my brown and red belt was a real highlight for me as I had to do it all on my own and I was told it was my best grading ever!

After just over a year of being 1st Kyu, I went in for my Shodan grading and passed at just age 15! This was a real sense of achievement for me as I had been working towards this for years. Although in some ways I found myself more excited, shocked, happy and a little bit more relieved than the other Shodans as I know I hadn’t started learning the grading requirements as early as Renshi Kidby had suggested. This is why, if I was asked by anyone going for their 1st Shodan for any advice it would be to learn the theory part of the grading as soon as possible.

For me right now, GCSE’s and A levels are just around the corner. I don’t know what the future holds for me in terms of karate, however I promise to continue to train whenever and wherever I possibly can to maintain my position as a black belt and keep my training up. As Sensei Funakoshi said ‘karate training takes a lifetime’ :)


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