I started learning karate in January 1981. I wanted to learn more about karate having seen it in action in Tehran, Iran whilst working there as a member of the British Embassy in 1977-79.
It was not suitable for women to do karate in Tehran as it was a male dominated sport, so I waited until my return to the UK to start karate with Shihan Chris Thompson 8th Dan at Honeywell School, Clapham South, London in 1981. The particular style I started to train in was Washinkai, an eclectic style with its roots in Wado Ryu, founded in 1978 by Chris Thompson. It is a recognised style by the English Karate Federation (governing body for karate in England) and the European and World Karate Federations.
I started teaching at The Canons Karate Club in Mitcham, Surrey in 1984 and then opened my own club at The Royal School, Haslemere, Surrey in 1994. I successfully brought many talented students to black belt and some of them competed regularly at our annual National Championships. One of my students was highly successful in the Ladies Individual Kata event in the BKF Championships held in Kelvin Hall, Glasgow in 2000, taking 2nd place.
I currently hold the position of Secretary in the British Traditional Karate Association and am a 6th Dan (black belt).
What is Karate? Karate is a Japanese martial art which developed over a period of centuries in ancient Okinawa so that by the early 17th Century a new fighting style called “Te” (meaning hand) was the first recorded instance of an art closely approximating modern day karate. Okinawa is the largest island in the group called the Ryu Kyu Islands which lie to the south of Japan.
Karate was formally adopted by Japan in the early 20th Century. It was after the Second World War that karate exploded on to the Western scene taken back to the US by the American military. It grew in post-war Europe and took root in the UK in the late 1950s.
It is an ideal form of exercise, as well as an excellent means of self-defence. Karate comprises blocks, strikes, punches and kicks. It develops speed, strength, coordination and alertness and renowned for its therapeutic value. It can be practiced by people of all ages as a recreational and sporting activity for everyone.
For more information about Washinkai Karate, visit www.washinkai.co.uk
This is the Washinkai Kanji –
Wa – meaning harmony or peace
Shin – meaning truth or peace
Kai – meaning house, or association