All posts by Cailey Whitcher

I had a lot to learn…

I used to take my son to karate and would sit and watch, one evening the Sensei wanted to demonstrate a move (Uraken) and asked me to oblige. It frightened the life out of me and he said,  ‘you can learn that if you want to’ , so I started joining in the lessons and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In 2007, when I was a 1st kyu, the opportunity came to take over the club which I agreed to. When I first took the club on somebody described me as a person who had just passed their driving test (i.e., had a lot to learn). But I grew in strength and in 2008 I achieved my 1st Dan, black belt. I couldn’t have achieved this without the support of Stuart Cole and Rob Lewis.

I gained my 2nd Dan in 2011, 3rd Dan in 2014 and 4th Dan in 2018 and with this came promotion to Senior Instructor. In January 2019 I was asked to become a Grading Assistant. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the support of the SSKA members.

I strongly believe that my club in Basingstoke is successful because of its members, their dedication to the sport and the club, which I truly appreciate.

I have never regretted taking up karate and would strongly recommend it.


The McCarthy Family

In December 2012 the McCarthy family discovered the SSKA Kendrick karate club in Reading.

This came at a time when they were looking for ways to increase their children’s (then aged 6 and 9) confidence, self-esteem and ability to defend themselves in the no matter how unlikely event of being in danger.

Yasmin aged 9 and Oscar aged 6

Following a brief conversation with Sensei Tracie Quelch the decision made itself and the children started straight away.

Both parents agreed that if their children demonstrated a keenness to learn and succeeded in grading for their Orange and Red belts (9thand 8th Kyu respectively), they would also both join.

As a result of their success and the high praise that their children’s heaped on the SSKA Instructors they took the plunge and in June 2013 the McCarthy parents joined Kendrick, following in the wake of their children, progressing steadily through the Kyu grades. From their perspective, it was inspiring to learn from their children and watch them grow in maturity and also mindfulness…great traits for leadership!

In October 2015 their daughter Yasmin passed her Shodan and in October 2017 passed her Nidan, with son Oscar, Mother Emma and Father James passing their Shodan in 2017, making a full suite of Kuro obi.

The initial intention was to enable their children to develop their own self-belief, stamina and confidence. With typical modesty they never truly anticipated that they would ever reach the goal of Shodan, never mind Nidan, as Oscar, Emma and James now aspire to; and with Yasmin training hard for her San Dan their success continues to grow.

James says “As a father, I have had the pleasure of watching these acquired skills surface in other aspects of my children’s lives and sports they take part in, determined to do better with the belief that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the effort. A good example of this is our daughter who has recently been promoted to Corporal in the ATC (Air Cadets) and our son who has progressed from the D team for Rugby and Football up to the A’s and B’s, a result of which, in part at least, is a direct result of the skills acquired from the study of karate and the guidance offered by the SSKA Instructors”

An additional aspect which has been vital to their success is the amazing group of friends the McCarthy’s have made along the way from a variety of clubs including Reading, Kendrick, Theale, Wokingham, Salisbury and Swindon to name but a few…an unknown benefit at the start of their karate journey.

James says “It has been a privilege to meet a great group of people from all walks of life with a shared vision to continually improve both individually and in my particular case as a family. All down to the team that is the SSKA”

Written by Gary Leyshon

Keith Thomas

Today, 19 March, marks a year since we said farewell to our good friend and instructor Keith Thomas.  Last year many of us were able to remember Keith at his funeral. The SSKA have decided to honour Keith’s memory by naming an award after him at our upcoming competition.

The Keith Thomas Memorial Award will be given to the person who shows great sportsmanship and encompasses the true spirit of karate on the day.

Special Offer for returning students


Have you taken a break from training with the SSKA? Been away at University and just returned home? Whatever reason you’ve not trained with us for a while, we are offering returning students the opportunity to return at their present grade (no assessment required) and no joining fee – simply renew your licence for £30.

For more information please email

New Polo Shirts

Our new polo shirts are now available to order. They are £30 including all embroidery. If you’d like to purchase one please email

**Special Offer for Instructors**
Instructors get your polo shirts half price – only £15.  If you’d like to purchase one please email

**Important Information** Winter Camp Time change

Please note there will be a slight time change to the advertised programme for this years Winter Camp. On THURSDAY 30 JANUARY the FREE Instructors training will take place from 2pm-3.30pm with Instructor gradings starting at 4pm approx.

There are still places available on the camp.  Three days training is ONLY £85.00 – you can also pay on the day with no surcharge!

Our 2019 Winter Camp takes place from Friday 1 February – Sunday 3 February 2019 at the Trouville Hotel, Bournemouth.

For full details of the course please download the information sheet and application form here.

FREE Instructor’s Course: 20 Jan 2019

Open free instructor’s information course

Sunday 20 January 2019, 3PM-5PM

Dorcan Recreation Centre, St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon 


This course is for all instructors, including junior instructors, and anyone 4th Kyu and above who may be interested in becoming an instructor and considering running an SSKA club.

It’s important for all instructors to attend this year’s course as we will be introducing a NEW Grading Syllabus. 

The course will give you new ideas in teaching your students, advice on the promotion of your clubs and also concentrating on your own Karate to help you progress.

For further information phone or text 07557 532676