Name – Paul Barrie Wolstencroft
Nickname – Wolsty
Grade – Godan 5th Dan Black Belt
Dojo – Bolton, Tottington, Handforth, Timperley
Full time or volunteer – Full Time
Why did you start?– I had always wanted to do Karate since being in Primary School. My sisters did Morris dancing and they had Karate on after their session. I think the shouting put me off. Interestingly the club I would have joined had a joined at the time would have been Red Sun Karate run my Sensei Colin Needham who I trained and graded with 10 plus years later. I joined Karate on Thursday 13th February 1997. A Karate club had recruited my sister’s boyfriend and he called my dad asking if I wanted to join. We trained on a Thursday night at Moorside High School in Swinton. Initially I trained on a Thursday then added the Saturday morning in before too long. I was invited to join the senior class on a Tuesday in Rochdale. From 14 years I continued that training until I was offered the chance to teach my own class. I think I looked older than I actually was. I started teaching my own class in July 1999. It was at this time I met Rachael. It was fate really. I was offered five different classes at the time. All around the region and I picked Bury. In 2001 I became a full time Instructor for Go Kan Ryu. In 2005 my Instructor parted ways with the club and I felt it was time to move on. I then formed Rising Phoenix Karate which would become Red Tiger Karate in July 2008.
What keeps you training? – I think Karate has so much to offer and there is never a point when I think, I’m there. I always think you are only as good as your last lesson. We have 26 Shotokan Katas; that’s without looking at the Junro Katas and others that we do. Each Kata has so many moves. These can keep you going for a lifetime. I also like the challenge of fitness with Karate. Other people have a strong belief that it’s karate and not keep fit in pyjamas. I disagree!! I’m a strong believer that Karate fitness is the best. Karate is also for all shapes and sizes. No excuses. I am constantly inspired by Japanese Instructors who lead by example and it’s that that keeps me going.
Job in the real world?– Since leaving School I have always been involved in teaching Karate. I spent a few years in Management within the bowling industry. In 2005 at a cross roads I quit my job as a manager to become a full time Instructor. As crazy as it seems I risked complete failure to succeed. I took a job in the mornings at a local Esso Garage and would recruit though the evenings knocking on doors and built the club that way. Weekends were spent moving sets at the Royal Academy of Theatre in Manchester. I did this for a year or so until I had enough classes to solely do this. Fast forward to present day and I run the club with Rachael. I deal with Schools and recruitment for the whole club. I do demonstrations and taster sessions in Schools across Greater Manchester and Lancashire. I’m a Senior Instructor with JKS England and recently been appointed as Assistant Kata coach to the English Karate Federation for the Northern Region.
Favourite part of karate? – When I was younger I liked learning new Kata but I liked sparring much more. As I have grown older I feel like I have nothing to prove and now favour Kata. It is a mindset too and important to do both. I always wanted to be a teacher. I love teaching Karate but love being a student. Going to Japan each year is a massive part of what I do. Meeting up with friends from all parts of the world is really nice. I’m also lucky being a Karate teacher to see so many students grow; I don’t have to wave goodbye after 5 years like a High School teacher. Unless of course students decide to leave. Karate provides us with opportunities. It gives us so much. If it wasn’t for karate I wouldn’t have met Rachael and have had 2 beautiful boys.
Hobbies other than karate? – I love anything to do with sport. Supporting and watching Manchester City. Playing Badminton (not as often as I would like) Weekly gym sessions including spin and Body pump. I’m also a Blue belt a Brazilian Jujitsu. When not doing sport I love spending time with my family.