Grade: Nidan 2nd Dan Black Belt
Classes: Stretford, Stockton Heath Thursdays, Bromley Cross, Breightmet and Haslingden
My name is Brandon Lee (no relation to Bruce Lee unfortunately!) and my karate journey started back in 2005. Firstly I started off watching my friend train at the Bury class which Sensei Rachael teaches on Fridays for around 4 weeks. One week Sensei Paul Wolstencroft was visiting the class and asked me if I fancied joining in, the only thing I remember saying was “No, football was the sport I was interested in.”
The following week I thought to myself if I was going to watch each week and had been for awhile already I may aswell give it a go and see if I liked it, so I got my shorts and t-shirt on and joined in for the class, ever since then I have been hooked. I joined as a member of Rising Phoenix Karate Club. Shortly after joining the training for my football and karate started clashing so it was then I made the decision that karate was what I wanted to do, from that moment I have never looked back.
Each week I used to attend the Bury class on the Friday evenings, developing karate skills and moving up through the belts. When I eventually got my Orange belt I started helping out at classes, standing on the front and passing on the knowledge that I had to others within the class. At this point it was where I started training to be an Assistant Instructor (Sempai), working through a book with class plans where I would deliver sessions in classes. Whilst doing the course I got to wear a Red and Black belt so people would recognise me as the class assistant, it was an honour to receive this belt as I was the first within the club to get it.
When the club changed its name to Red Tiger Karate Club I continued on my path of becoming a Sempai which then I was asked to start helping at more classes during the week. I started at Stretford with Sensei Rachael, Denton and Bolton which were held by Sensei Paul W. After helping out for numerous years and gaining experience of teaching classes with Sensei Paul and Sensei Rachael they let me take over the Stretford Dojo, I was so overwhelmed that she had trusted me with this class as she had taught it for years before. I then went on to open other Dojos on each night of the week. I currently teach James Brindley Afterschool Class, Stretford, Blackburn, Bromley Cross, Irlam and Breightmet.
I am currently a 2nd Dan Black Belt with Red Tiger Karate, as for the friend I started watching, he is also a 2nd Dan. It was great training and going through the ranks with him and to see what we have both achieved over the years, If I’m being honest I never came to karate to collect the belts, I came to have fun and meet some new people as well as develop the skills of the martial art for if I ever needed to outside of the dojo.
Red Tiger Karate is a great family club, run by some incredible people. I would just like to say thank you to Sensei Paul and Sensei Rachael for all the effort they have put in with me over the years I have been training, I obviously would never be in the place I am now without you. Also to my Mum and Dad for supporting me with the decisions I have made from changing from football all those years ago to then taking and funding my karate when I started.
Thank you for taking the time to have a read and I look forward to seeing new faces in the dojo soon!