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I started training with Higashi in the 80’s in Welwyn Garden City (instructors Kev and Jan Bucknall and Mark Baumert (in case anyone remembers or knows them!) and was graded by Sensei Spanton himself at Forest Gate to 3rd kyu in May 1988. A year or so later the club I went to closed up shop and I drifted away. Well, I was in my twenties and had other things on my mind…

I dabbled with shotokan in the 90’s after a few years away from karate but lost interest. During the wilderness years I also tried my hand at Aikido and Tang Soo Do, but those were brief dalliances.

Skip forward to 2009 and my 9yo daughter was rather taken with the idea of karate and we joined a local Go Kan Ryu club together. It served a purpose and rekindled my desire to train but my daughter lost interest at the end of 2010. As GKR didn’t really “do it” for me I looked around and found the Luton Lunatics and here I am today having trained with a great bunch of people since Jan 2010 and I’ve already been to Ogwen for the very first time and loved every minute of it! What was particularly weird and an emotional high point for me at Ogwen, was being reassessed by Sensei Spanton at the same level he graded me at 23 years previously! It was as if the intervening years hadn’t happened. I think this is also testament to the encouragement, support and excellent training given by Senseis John, Alex and Jeff who all seem keen to explore new ways of making me discover muscles and joints that I had forgotten about years ago – and then stretching them to new limits!

The highlight of my early career has to be attending a competition when I was a 4thkyu and being knocked out of the competition in the first round. Or maybe it’s the time at a summer fair when our club was doing a demo and I failed to break a brieze block but severely mashed my fist. What was I thinking!!! The bricks and wood were easy – why did I have to try a breize block after that! D’oh!

I was awarded my 1st Kyu in 2015 by Peter Spanton, 9th Dan, at the Ogwen Bank course and my 1st Dan in 2016, again by Peter Spanton, 9th Dan, at the Ogwen Bank course.