Name: Gary Pratley
Nickname: I always get my Sunday name from my Wife and Mother. Gaz to most of my friends and my Dad
Grade: Nidan (2nd Dan Black Belt)
Dojo: Darwen but I train as much as I can at various Dojos’ at least 3 or 4 times a week sometimes more.
Full Time/Volunteer: Volunteer
Why did you start: I’ve always been interested in Martial arts and had a go for a while when I was young but my friends stopped and I never carried on, I wish I had. Years later my youngest Jaime was playing football at Darwen Leisure and said Dad I want to do that. It was an RTK class being taught by Sensei Nicola so he joined and football got binned. A few weeks later I thought well I’m stood here watching I might as well give it a go and the rest is history we’ve never looked back.
What keeps you training? I love it! The training pushing myself to be the best I can be for me and my students. Learning new Katas, Drills and Combinations, Karate is like an endless river always flowing sometimes fast sometimes slow rough and smooth there is always something new to learn or improve. The fitness believe it or not, it keeps you alive, I could have had the worst day and think I don’t feel like it tonight but I always go and get on with it and come away tired but revived if that makes sense feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve never been afraid of hard work it will always be rewarded in the end, something I inherited from my Parents. Practicing Karate certainly has rewarded me and my family. I love the teaching and do everything I can to help and improve my students. I count them as my friends and would never want to let them down.
Job in the real world: I currently work for Alexander Dennis as an Electrical Design Engineer. We Design and build buses and coaches for customers all over the world.
Best part of Karate: The Training, the friendship and comradery which I have to say is second to none at this club. The family time, it’s allowed me to do something with my kids and give us some very, very proud parent moments and fabulous memories. The confidence it’s given me, something I’ve always struggled with, I would never have seen myself teaching a class when I started but now I couldn’t do without it. There’s nothing better than seeing your students be successful, it gives you such a warm feeling.
Hobbies other than Karate: I like Football and Rugby having played both. I support Southampton FC for my sins, my family being from the south coast it was drummed into us but I’ve had some great days watching the Saints. I love walking especially around the coast of Cornwall etc. I feel at home around the sea I assume it’s in my roots. I love running and was quite serious with it at one point, strangely it relaxes me and clears my mind even on a tough one, and I probably don’t do enough now. I have taken part in the Great North Run on numerous occasions and it holds a very special place in my heart for personal reasons. If you ever get the chance to take part do it it’s such a great day the atmosphere from start to finish is fantastic. The medals I have along with my Black Belt are some of my prized possessions.