Senpai Rob Lee (1st Dan)
It was in 1998 when a friend of mine mentioned that he had begun training at a Karate club and they were soon to be starting a new beginners course. He asked if I and some friends would like to come along. I was apprehensive at first as I had never done anything like this before and didnt know what it would be like but I decided to go along and see if I liked it. By the end of the first session I loved it.
I trained every Monday night without fail and was soon attending all the extra sessions I could.
Training was going well and after a few years I had become a green belt. At this time some other members of the club were going to be fighting in a full contact knockdown competition and I wanted to have a go. The training was hard and the fighting was even harder and even though I lost my first fight I came away with a new perspective on karate.
The next year I entered the national knockdown tournament again, only this time I achieved 3rd place.
Since then I have tried to compete in as many tournaments as possible. Competing in kata, nihon shobu and clicker as well as knockdown.
The training for such events is the most enjoyable part for me. There is a great club spirit when a number of us are training for the competitions.
I gained my shodan in March 2004 and entering the club for the first time as a black belt was an amazing feeling.
Since gaining my shodan I have been helping the other club instructors with teaching at the club whenever needed. As well as enjoying my own training it is satisfying to see younger members of the club learning, performing and succeeding in competitions. Although you sometimes have to be very patient it is ultimately very rewarding.