Name: Helen Dolan
Nickname: H, Henry (childhood nickname from being a tomboy!). Most things John Sensei calls me can’t be repeated here!
Grade: Shodan, 1st Dan Black Belt
Dojo/s: I am lead instructor for the Whitefield Dojo and help John Sensei out at the Radcliffe Dojo. I train at Thornleigh for Senior class, Darwen Dojo and Tottington Dojo.
Full time or volunteer: Volunteer Instructor
Why did you start: I started karate a few months after John Sensei, Liam and Thomas having decided I was sick of sitting at home every night when they went out so I decided to give it a go. At first, I was adamant I was only training in one class a week; that lasted for one class and I was soon training twice a week, then three times and before I knew it I was out pretty much every night! John Sensei thought I wouldn’t last a week due to my complete lack of co-ordination, I’m sure if you ask him he will tell you all about the time he found me attempting to do a ThaiBo exercise video, he’s still surprised now that I’ve continued and I still have a complete lack of co-ordination!
The reason we started in the first place was because one of our boys was having some problems at school and it was suggested that karate would be a good outlet for him. This one piece of advice has helped all of us immensely as joining Red Tiger is one of the best things we have ever done for our family. We have all made some great friends and the boys have really benefited from the discipline and focus karate needs. In some tough times for one of our boys in particular it gave him a focus and really helped bring him out of a very tough time and for that we will be forever grateful.
What keeps you training: This is a difficult one as it’s now just part of our lives and I love training, it’s an hour or so out of my day to do something for me it’s also my time to learn as much as I can to pass on to the students I teach as well as keeping me fit and healthy.
It’s still something we do together as a family and more often than not one of the boys will be in the dojo with us which means they are away from consoles and screens for a couple of hours a day!
Job in the real world: I’m Company Secretary for the Paper Industry Technical Association, a membership body for the manufacturers and allied trades related to the paper and forest products based industry. Our members make everything from toilet roll to bed pans to tea bag paper (that’s John Sensei’s mill!).
Favourite part of karate: I enjoy all aspects of karate. If you had asked me 5 years ago when I first started I would have said I like kihon and kata but over the last couple of years I’ve worked hard on the kumite side of my karate and now I enjoy that too, up until fairly recently I used to dread hearing the words put your mitts and pads on but now see it as an opportunity to try something new! If you are struggling with one aspect it does help to focus a bit of time on that area and improvements will be made, at least I hope I have improved my kumite!
Hobbies other than karate: With a full time day job, mum to teenage twin boys and being in a dojo most nights of the week I don’t have much time for other hobbies but I enjoy reading to relax and catching up with the many friends we have made through being part of Red Tiger.
I’m an avid Manchester United fan and have been watching them since I was 8 years old standing on the terraces with my dad and was lucky enough to work for them for a couple of years just as the good times started so I like to think I played my part in bringing success to the club! Living with three Liverpool fans is hard work at the moment, I’m sure I never gloated as much as they do when United were winning everything!