I started practicing Shotokan Karate in 1982, I was 10 years old. My original club was in Scotland, The Coatbridge Shotokan Karate Club. By September 1985 I had passed my 1st Dan Black Belt and by September 1987 I had passed my 2nd Dan Black Belt. I was very fortunate to have had all of my gradings under the examination of Sensei Enoeda from the JKA (Japanese Karate Association). I trained with my own club 5 days a week, and trained with the Scottish Shotokan Karate Squad at the weekends under Sensei Ronnie Watt. Training 7 days a week may seem like a lot, but I loved it, it was all that I wanted to do.
When I first started karate I was very shy, I was the smallest in my year group at school and was quite often picked on. Karate helped me overcome my shyness and gave me the self-confidence to stand up for myself; walk away from situations with my head held high, and protect myself when it was necessary. Hours upon hours of practice, failing and retrying, perseverance and commitment helped me become resilient, determined and confident. These qualities that were developed and nurtured in the dojo have helped me throughout my life. The lessons that I have learned in the dojo have shaped the person that I have become. I have a healthy respect for myself, others and my environment. Essential qualities that you will learn in the dojo practicing Shotokan Karate.
After a 20+ year gap from training (me and my family left Scotland then I went travelling, eventually got married and had a family) it is so good to be back in the dojo, training with an amazing bunch of people, who share my passion for karate and have helped me re-awaken my skills. I am absolutely delighted that both of my young daughters have decided to follow me into the dojo and are learning essential life skills that will help them in the days to come.