Weymouth Karate Club – Ken Bu Jyuku
Osprey Leisure Centre Portland, Weymouth
Thursday evening 19:00 – 20:30 All grades 10 years plus
I started Karate by accident in 1979. Some friends of mine rang me at the last minute and asked me to go to a karate class with them in Doncaster. It was a Bank Holiday and I had nothing planned, so went to make the numbers up. I had never taken an interest in karate or martial arts before, in fact my great love was ballet and I took ballet classes several times a week. By the end of that first class I was hooked and never looked back! In fact, on my second lesson I was to meet Steve, my future husband. He had just passed his 1st Dan and was a young 18 year old! I trained hard, three times a week, rarely missing and after a year or two was a 4th kyu. Steve had previously left Doncaster to join the RAF and in 1981 we were married and moved to Wiltshire. Things were difficult as Steve had to be out of the country a lot and I had to contend with training on my own at home. I managed a trip back up to Doncaster to take 3rd Kyu with Sakagami Sensei and on Steve’s return we set up our own Club in Chippenham. Steve still had to travel abroad a lot, and so it was a steep learning curve for me, as I was only a 3rd Kyu and had to run the Club myself while Steve was away. Sugasawa Sensei did our very first grading in 1982 and we have enjoyed his support every since.
I am pleased to say the Club grew steadily and I passed my 1st Dan in November 1983. Our first child Kimberley was born in September 1984, with our son David following in September 1986. I had been training throughout as much as possible, and in fact got to the Kata finals at Crystal Palace whilst 5 months pregnant with David!! I managed to obtain 2nd Dan while David was still a toddler, and our third child, PJ was born in 1989. It was very difficult to maintain that level of training, and run a Club with all the family commitments, but we survived, and I was awarded 3rd Dan in 1992.
I was very fortunate then to resurrect my competition career in earnest. I represented England for Kata at European Championships in Rome, Nurnburg, Budapest, Zurich and England, being placed at each one, and winning the European Title in Budapest. In 1994 I came 2nd in Ladies Kata at the Wado Ryu Championships in Tokyo. That year was an amazing one for me. Earlier in the year, Squad Coach Bob Flowers had selected me, Carol (from the Chippenham Club) and Nicky Hawker from Bristol Seishinkan to train together as a Ladies Kata Team. We won the EKGB Nationals and also the British Championships that year. This meant we represented England at the European All Styles Championships at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham and also Great Britain at The World All Styles Karate Championships in Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As well as training with Sugasawa Sensei and M Shiomitsu Sensei, over the years I have been lucky enough to have trained with the late Prof. T Suzuki Sensei, K Sakagami Sensei, Y Iwasaki Sensei, the late T Takamizawa Sensei, the late Peter Suzuki Sensei, S Noboru Sensei, Yamanashi Sensei, Nishimura Sensei, K Harada Sensei, Grandmaster H.Ohtsuka II and III.
I obtained 4th Dan in 1997. By this time all three children had been training for several years and the whole family competed in the 1999 World Wado Ryu Championships in Tokyo. The Chippenham Club celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2012 and many of the youngsters we had then are now adults! In fact, all three of our children passed their 1st Dan on the Summer Course Dan Grading in 2002 . Since then both David and PJ have been awarded 2nd Dan.
I felt very privileged to be awarded 5th Dan in October 2004, after returning from a very successful Shikukai trip to Japan, where again the whole family competed in the Championships.
In 2005 England had the privilege of hosting the World Wado Ryu Championships. Myself, daughter Kimberley and son David all competed in Kata, while son PJ and husband Steve officiated.
In 2013 Steve & I retired to the South Coast and handed over the Chippenham Club to our senior student, Carol. We set up a small Club in Weymouth. At this time we were both awarded 6th Dan by Sugasawa Sensei. We continue to teach on a regular basis both in the UK and abroad.
I get an enormous amount of pleasure in being an Instructor and watching students progress and really seeing them improve, both physically and mentally as a result of Karate. I am indebted to Sugasawa Sensei for his guidance and first class teaching, and also to my fellow instructors and students within Shikukai, for their unwavering support.
I was honoured to be included in Sensei Sugasawa’s 70th Birthday Tokubetsu Shoudan promotions in July 2020 and was awarded 7th Dan.