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Sam Bedford

My karate journey can be traced back to before I can even remember, hence it sometimes feels like I’ve done karate since the day I was born. My older brothers trained at the Association of Shotokan Karate under Sensei Kuma. The minimum age requirement meant that I couldn’t train straight away, so instead I watched, and I often found myself at the side of the dojo trying to mimic the moves of the kata that my brothers performed, hoping that one day I could do it as well as them. It can be easy to forget where you started, but I am occasionally reminded when I see kids at the side of the dojo, copying the moves that the class performs, as I did when I was younger. The only difference is that I now stand in the dojo as a dan-grade, which gives me immense pride knowing that the kids may be looking up to me and may go on to follow a similar Karate journey.

As soon as I turned 6, I began training under Sensei Kuma. Years passed and I slowly made my way up through the grades (winning a few accolades for my progress and commitment as well!). Eventually I surpassed my brothers, who had left to pursue other interests, and after A.S.K relocated away from my area, I joined C.F.T.S. Initially, I was nervous, however, training under Shihan McClagish and Sensei Saunders brought a sense of humour to karate which I found refreshing. Nowadays I am self-motivated enough to train no matter how tough things get, but I do acknowledge how the more light-hearted approach to karate kept me coming back every week when I was younger. Furthermore, C.F.T.S introduced me to aspects of Karate that I hadn’t experienced elsewhere. The emphasis on Karate-Do gave me a deeper insight into karate and the things to learn are almost endless; the Bo staff was an interesting addition to my Karate since it was so different to our normal training and was also a lot of fun. The courses that I’ve attended provide an alternative approach to Karate which I’ve always enjoyed. Finally, the Association competitions provided an opportunity to show off my Karate. After coming 2nd a few times, my team eventually came first in the Team Kata event, which was encouraging as it proved that my training was paying off. Furthermore, the sense of community on the day was great and the overall atmosphere during the events was electric.

Fast forward to 2022 and after 11 years of training, and a few extra years of watching at the side lines, I am now a dan grade. The grading was tough and even after passing, I feel like I have a lot of progress to make physically and mentally, and I am looking to fulfilling that potential in the future. I look back at my karate journey so far with a lot of pride. Karate has been instrumental in developing me physically, mentally, and socially, and has also granted me the bragging rights of being the highest grade in my family.


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