Olivia Marshall

Updated: Feb 8

At the age of 11, I started CFTS Federation karate. At the time I was nervous and unsure what it was going to be like, but it was recommended by a friend who had been attending these karate sessions at the time in Newton Longville. I found it was a close, welcoming community and I could tell that the Senseis had put a lot of effort into the sessions, so I tried my hardest to learn the basics, katas and sets to the best of my ability.

When it came to gradings, especially my first grading I was very nervous and always have been; it is a big thing for me to achieve these grades and I found that the gradings were very formal and respectful. I was glad we had time to prepare before we graded. I continued to grade, until it came time to grade for black belt. In the days leading up to my Black belt gradings I thought I would never get to where I am, I was so honoured and grateful when I received black belt. These words stuck with me after my grading and now I remember it as a motto for wherever I may go: ‘it's not the end, but just the beginning’.

There were also competitions; these were as equally nerve-racking and exciting. For the first year I did not participate; I watched people perform katas and kumite wanting to get a feeling of what the competitions would be like, but for the next few years I took part in team and single kata events. It was interesting to learn how to work with others like a well-oiled and efficient machine. In the courses we participated in over the years, I learnt something new from each one and how other styles differ from CFTS itself. We tried to attend as many courses as possible and also started to attend later lessons on Saturdays and start lessons on Tuesdays that I found helped a lot in my development of karate.

Over the years, when I achieved higher belts, there came new experiences. After 7 years of doing karate, everyone has been very helpful, giving me advice so I may learn from my mistakes. I know that, now I’ve achieved black belt, my journey is not over and I’m hoping to continue to learn and have new experiences.