Grade: Nidan 2nd Dan Black Belt
My Karate life started 21 years ago in 1993 with a knock on the door. I agreed to have a go at Karate and dragged along my then boyfriend (now husband) Michael Beckwith who is now the Assistant Chief Instructor of Red Tiger Karate. I caught the bug at my first lesson and have never looked back. The initial reason for doing karate was to get fit and learn some self defence.
I have trained through two pregnancies (both up to 8 months pregnant) with doctors advice banning me from Kumite, you can train whilst pregnant but always seek medical advice! Karate has become more than a hobby, it is really a way of life. It has given me huge confidence in myself, my fitness levels have improved and the knowledge that I could attempt to protect my two boys should the time ever come. Plus one of the biggest benefits is the rock solid friends I have made.
I have taught Karate for approximately 20 years and I think it is the teaching that makes it. The opportunity to meet a fledgling 10th Kyu, teach them the basics and watch them develop through their grades is a humbling experience which is also a privilege. It does worry me when Sensei Paul says that he can tell my students from the rest, I can only imagine it is their highly developed sense of humour and the ability to laugh and learn from their mistakes and of course their fantastic karate!
I have known Sensei Paul and Sensei Rachael for many years now in fact from the start of their karate journey and they are probably the most approachable, hardworking, dedicated Karateka you will ever have the privilege to meet and they are truly lovely people.
I achieved black belt in my previous style in 2001 and gained my black belt within Red Tiger Karate in September 2007 and in a very strange way loved my grading even though I was absolutely exhausted beyond words.
I finally achieved my 2nd Dan on the 25th July 2014 on my second attempt. I am not ashamed to admit it was my second try and it is important to know that if you fail, no matter how awful it is at the time, it is for the best and to finally achieve that next grade means so so much more because you know you have earned it.
People may wonder why it has taken me so long between gradings. The main reason was a snapped cruciate ligament (done at netball I hasten to add). Recovery from this was a 2 year journey with many operations, BUT, again proof that such a serious injury does not mean the end of Karate. You have to adapt and alter katas and stances subtly in order to carry on.
To sum it up, Karate is one of the best things I have ever started. It has given me confidence (believe it or not I did not have much a few years ago), the ability to laugh at my mistakes and learn from them, I have gained valuable friends, met hundreds of people, and learnt that hard work and perseverance pays dividends and that black belt is not a dream, it is an achievable goal.
I would like to extend an invite to each and every one of you to experience mine and Mike’s class at Whitefield on a Thursday evening, you will continue to develop your karate whilst enjoying the banter which makes our class an unforgettable training session.