For as long as I can remember, I’d always wanted to do karate. By the age of 6 or 7, my school friends and I had convinced ourselves we knew karate. In reality my first experience was around the age of 10 when my parents took me to a Goju Ryu club, a traditional Okinawa-style, which had just opened near where we lived. I took to the class immediately, but then I never had any doubts that I would. Unfortunately the classes ran for about a year before closing and the club’s other location was too far to travel. I tried a couple of other clubs but just didn’t take to them.
During my late teens I found a Shotokan-style karate club. Shotokan is more comparable to other Japanese mainland martial arts with its big and dynamic structure. But this club too was open for about a year before closing. I’d started work by this time, which I really enjoyed, so karate took a back seat while I focused on my career.
Several years later while chatting to my friends and workmates outside a pub on a Friday evening, everything just seemed to stop… I felt distanced from my colleagues as I looked from one to another, and at their stomachs in particular, with many being in their mid-forties. I was at a crossroads and straight ahead was not where I wanted to be. I had recently taken up karate again at a small dojo very close to where I was living and all I could think about was the class that was due to start and the inspiring instructor who would be teaching. It was already too late to get back for the lesson but I made my excuses and left.
Teaching karate is my passion. I know everybody who comes to the club and invest my time wholeheartedly in their development.
I have now been practising karate consistently for the last 25+ years and teaching is my passion. I know everybody who comes to the club and invest my time wholeheartedly in their development.
It is only now after all these years I understand that my time spent without karate was a period of great emptiness. I was without direction and often found it hard to motivate myself. In contrast practising karate helps to keep me balanced. The dojo is somewhere to switch off from work or exams and all of the other day-to-day stresses one encounters in life. A place to enjoy the mental and physical benefits that karate has to offer. After training, everything just seems better.
Maybe, like me, you also feel that something is missing or that you would like to try a new activity? Perhaps you too can find what you are looking for in karate. So if you find yourself at the door of the dojo thinking “I’m a beginner… everybody else looks like they know what they are doing…” or “I need to get myself fit before I try that…” don’t worry, just step inside. You may find it difficult at first but through regular training your coordination and fitness levels will improve. Everybody in the class was once a beginner and appreciates how it feels to make that first step.
There will never be a better time to start than now.Austin Biesty 4th Dan JKA