I teach Karate on a Monday evening, also covering other classes as needed. My regular everyday job is a sales manager for a local fastening distributor. I also manage a paintball and laser game site in Hailsham.
Everyone's martial arts journey is different. I started mine back in October 2005, originally to spend more time with my daughter and to get fit for "Tough Guy" event which I did for charity. I still remember thinking that I was going to be the only person to never grade to a yellow belt as I believed that I would never be able to learn my first kata. Clearly I was wrong and I got my yellow belt. It wasn't too long before I started to help my instructor teaching class and loved it from the start.
I taught my first lesson in Oct 2006 and have never looked back, whoever said that teaching helps you learn was not lying! Even after teaching for so long I still find myself getting really proud when I see my students achieving their goals, be they big or small, sometimes just as small as touching their toes! Grading's make you appreciate how much people can achieve if they put their minds to it, and just don't give up! After training for 6 years I really started my training by grading to Shodan (Black Belt). I still look back now with surprise as I was convinced that I would never even learn my first kata, let alone the 13 needed for Shodan!
I have always had difficulty learning kata's so I understand others with the same problem and have several simple ideas to help them. Flexibility is another issue for me, but I can honestly say that if you keep going it gets better. Nobody thought I would ever be able to kick head height, until I did! My lesson's on Monday night are very laid back and great fun, there is a line there just don't cross it! My personal belief is that karate should be available to all, irrespective of age, ability or medical issues. I also believe that everybody has a different journey and all improvements should be met with positivity, even if it is just being able to touch their toes!
I would like to finish by thanking all the people that have allowed me to teach or train with them over the years, and especially those who have very patiently taught me. I genuinely feel blessed to have known you all.
Just always remember, a black belt is a white belt who refused to give up!!!