My first introduction to Martial Arts was joining a karate school in Worcester aged 16 years.
I trained for nearly a year and graded twice but had to stop when I moved jobs and home. It was some years later when I started learning self defence at a local club in Tewkesbury, FuSu, which taught me to break fall and apply locks and throws. This was really interesting and I continued to learn for 2 years until the club closed down.
It was not until 2000 that I went to my first Takekwon-Do lesson with my daughter and loved it! We progressed well and as I worked my way up the grades I began to help teach the juniors.
My first tournament was the West Midlands Open and I was runner up in the final. It was a great experience and one which taught me a great deal. By the time I reached my black tag I was training 5 nights a week in Gloucester and Tewkesbury in preparation for the black belt which I successfully passed on 22nd May 2005. It was a proud moment and following this I took time to consolidate my learning and help my instructor with teaching.
After taking my 2nd Dan in late 2007 I looked to broaden my horizons and started to learn Ju-Jitsu and basic grappling. I entered some local WUMA tournaments and had some success with grappling and continued to learn in my spare time.
In 2008 I entered the European Championships in the grappling section and lost by a very narrow margin in the final to a 7th degree ex-cage fighter so was pleased with the skills I had learnt. On the same day the full contact team were short of a fighter so I volunteered and gloved up with 5 minutes notice to take on a much younger, fitter and prepared fighter. Losing on points was a great result as I was just pleased to survive.
That year I pursued my self defence interests and ran a seminar for over 50 students in Gloucester and continued to give demonstrations in self defence at local clubs. I started Kickboxing and fought on a local full contact fight night and won by TKO which was great fun. Later that year my instructor Martin Paradine and I were named self defence world champions after a very hard hitting routine that had the crowd applauding at the WUMA tournament.
Due to other interests I opened my own Kickboxing club in 2010 and assisted running a boxing class in Tewkesbury. At the same time MPMA also began teaching in schools and are still the registered instructors for Tewkesbury school having taught it’s own “hands off” self defence syllabus and an after school club. MPMA have also taught special needs groups such as Alderman Knights and Stroud special needs group. I firmly believe in giving something back to the community and held a local charity event breaking 100 half inch pine boards in just over a minute which raised several hundred pounds for charity.
In 2011 I attended a seminar by Grandmaster He’ll Cho in Dublin and MPMA were the only non AIMEE members to attend. I hope to grade for my 3rd Dan at some stage but for now I am focused on teaching in schools and passing on the skills and knowledge that I have learnt.