Name: Jaime Padron (It’s Spanish and my first name is pronounced “Hi-Me”)
Nickname: Jaime, Jamie, James, Jimmy, Jammy, Himmy, Hammy
Why Did You Start and What Keeps You Training?
My Karate Journey started in 1991 when I attended a local Dojo in Tenerife, Spain. I remember neither the name of the club nor that of my Sensei; but I do remember my training which, at the age of 5, consisted mostly of Karate etiquette, basics and games. I enjoyed it very much and it marked the start of a journey which I continue to date. I returned to the UK shortly after commencing my training there and unfortunately, I did not pursue it further on my return. It was not until much later that I would return to Karate.
In 2001, I joined Elite International Martial Arts in the style of Shito Ryu under David Morris Sensei (8th Dan). I enjoyed this style of Karate for its focus on physical strength, breathing techniques, conditioning and the use of an attacker’s motion against themselves. There was an emphasis on sparring too which, because I was older, I was able to participate. I graded to 7thKyu and stopped my training in order to focus on my GCSE exams. For reasons I do not know, I did not return to my training after I had taken my exams. I am however truly grateful to this club for the training I received during my relatively short time with them. I had never felt so strong, flexible and confident. I believe the health benefits I got from my training with them lasted throughout my time at University when studying the Law – and beyond. Once again, my Karate Journey would not commence again until much later.
When I was 12 years old, I set myself a target – to one day own a Lotus Elise (a sports car). In 2016, I was able to turn my dream into a reality. Despite owning the car of my dreams, however, I felt unfulfilled and, within a month, I was looking to sell it. Unfortunately, I went out for a drive and lost control of the vehicle, crashed it, rendering the car a write-off. Just like that, my dream of 18 years was over in 3 months. I was (understandably) feeling angry and upset but in hindsight I can quite honestly say that I am very glad this incident happened because it encouraged me to consider the pursuit of new ventures from which I may feel more fulfilled. By December 2016, I had considered Karate as a possible answer. I spoke to Paul Wolstencroft Sensei (5thDan) at Red Tiger Karate and I asked if I could join the club. I had my first lesson in Karate (Shotokan) in Handforth on a very cold day in January 2017 with Paul Wolstencroft Sensei. I was asked to perform a mawasha geri (roundhouse kick) hard on a Kick-Pad held by a fellow Karate-Ka. I kicked the pad with what little training I could recall from 2001.The moment my kick landed that Kick-Pad, I knew that this was the way forward. It just felt right.
I set myself a simple target – to reach the level of Shodan (Black Belt). My New Year’s Resolution of 2017 was to qualify to 6th Kyu and to have learned the Kata Heian Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Dai – even if at a basic level. My New Year’s Resolution of 2018 was to qualify to 3rd Kyu and to have learned Jion, Kanku Dai and Enpi – again, even if at a basic level. I am grateful to all my Sensei and Karate-ka involved in helping me reach these goals. Nowadays, I rely less on target setting and focus more on training. The Way of Karate has become more valuable to me than the colour of my belt. It has become much more than a life goal; and is more so a life-long pursuit. It is my passion and I enjoy reading around the topic. I have come to learn and love its origin, its history and the principles it teaches. It has given me a new perspective on life and I continue my Karate Journey on this basis.
In 2018, I became a Sempai (Assistant Instructor) and, later that year, I was appointed to Sensei. I am flattered that my Sensei considers my Karate to be at a level expected to fulfil the roles of either Sempai or Sensei and I feel privileged to be asked to fulfil these positions.
I am now a Branch Instructor at Red Tiger Karate. I teach a class of students (adults/children) ranging from 10th Kyu (White Belt) to 2ndKyu (Brown and White Stripe). I train between 2 and 3 times a week. Training consists of warming up, stretching, Kihon (basics), Kata (combination of basics) and Kumite (sparring), conditioning and games.
Job In The Real World: Solicitor
Favourite Part of Karate: Whether it is Kihon (basics), Kata (pre-arranged combination of the basics learnt in Kihon) or Kumite (sparring), my most favourite part of Karate is learning any part of it and realising there is so much more to learn. I believe this is the essence of Karate and is a principle that applies to so many aspects of life – not just what you learn in the Dojo.
Hobbies: My hobby is Karate. I study the art both in the Dojo and outside it. Over the course of the last 3-4 years, I have read much on the topic of Karate – its history, its theory, its practice – both of the body and the mind. Other than Karate, I love going on walks, cycling and getting lost in a good movie/series.