I attended karate as a child but drifted away from it in my teenage years. My son and daughter started training in Faringdon, and as I sat on the side lines watching, I was surprised by how much I could still remember. I was encouraged to join in and we have been training as a family ever since. That was over 10 years ago and we now train in Brize Norton with Sensei Cowling.
I work at Oxford University as a scientist for Cancer Research UK. I love my job and I was devastated when the laboratories closed during the first lock down. Like many others, I was forced to stay at home and found it hard to exercise. We all really missed training during this time and it was great to start again, even if it was initially in a playing field! My daughter even managed to achieve her black belt in October which was the highlight of the year.
Thankfully I am able to work during the current lockdown. Cancer Research UK and many other charities have suffered financially due to COVID so it’s great news that research can continue. Once again, I am forced to practice my katas in the kitchen. I look forward to the day when we can get back to training, I am hoping to grade for my 2nd Dan so I certainly need the practice!
The SSKA has been enriching students life with karate since 1987 and in all those years we’ve never experienced at times quite like these.
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting families and businesses everywhere meaning it is a challenging time for all of us. The most important thing is we remain healthy and listen to the Government’s advice and Stay at Home.
We were disappointed that our Swindon grading could not take place as planned and some of you missed the opportunity to grade for your black belts however your safety is more important to us.
I am grateful to have a very dedicated team of instructors who are actively supporting their students, generating online lessons, providing virtual one-to-one sessions and sharing training plans online. More than ever it is important to try and keep some routine in our lives and I thank my instructors for their hard work.
We certainly can’t wait for the day when life returns to normal and we can open our doors to students again. If you need any help or advice with your training please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are here for you.
I’d like to personally thank those of you who are NHS or key workers and doing your everything to keep the world in order and supporting our families. Thank you.
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.
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.
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”