Senpai Lucy Rymell (1st Dan)
I was 30 when I joined the West Hill club in 1998. Sensei Jim Elvery was the club instructor along with Senpai John Smith. The minute I walked into the Dojo I felt like I had come home.
Although I was unable to do even 1 push up, I persevered and gradually improved. Soon I realised that in order to progress, training once a week at West Hill would not be enough and I began to train at the Bexhill club with Sensei Christian Seal as well.
I started entering tournaments as a blue belt, gaining 3rd places in national WUKO and Kata competitions. However, my best personal achievement was fighting in Knockdown. The training was intense but ultimately the most rewarding. My muscles ached so much that I perfected what we affectionately call the ‘Kyokushin Walk’. I was not a winner, but felt like one because of the respect I had gained from other Karateka who knew what it took to step on the mat to fight.
Having taken time out from a knee injury, I came back refreshed and set my sights on reaching Shodan. Under the tutelage of Senpai John and Senpai Leeann I started from the beginning, they encouraged, motivated and inspired me. The whole club pushed me and 10 years later, just before my 40th birthday, I passed the Shodan grading.
It is every Karateka’s aim to grade as Shodan and theoretically you could do this within 3-4 years, however, to really understand Kyokushinkai takes a lifetime. I have seen many gifted Karateka give up because they want belts and glory immediately, however, I have seen that it is the Karateka that try the hardest and show the ‘Kyokushinkai Spirit’ that actually finally reach their goal.
I would like to add that the story doesn’t end here, gaining Shodan is not the end, it is the beginning…………………