1. How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts?
I had done a couple of years kickboxing on and off at other clubs when I was younger but had serveral years off, moved house and then started with ECKA age 33 (and very much a beginner again!).
2. How do you manage your work/life balance and has work ever threatened to get in the way? What made you keep training?
I make sure I go training at least once a week, and not to worry too much if I can’t do any more. A second session is a bonus. Sometimes it’s difficult – I have had to take January off to play in the band for the local panto, other than that I like to stay consistent. If there’s a grading coming up I try to go more often, the most important thing is just to keep it ticking over.
3. Did you ever feel like quitting training?
At the end of a particularly tough warm-up session! 🙂 My biggest motivation though is my daughter. As I probably won’t be able to get a shotgun to scare off any potential boyfriends, being a black-belt kickboxer would be the next best thing. She’s not even two yet, so I’ve got plenty of time to get there.
4. Has martial arts had an affect on any areas of your life outside of the dojo?
Above the fitness and the increased confidence, is the sense of strength and control I have in my body. It’s also a great way of surprising people in conversation at church on a Sunday morning.
5. What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?
Give it a go! You may have ideas about what it might involve, but unless you give it a go you won’t see the breadth of opportunities and advantages on offer.
6. What did you think about your first time at an ECKA class?
The thing which struck me was the way in which I was accepted for who I was each time I turned up. Sensei Jo is always encouraging, never condemning. That rubs off on the other members of the club, so you’re constantly helping each other out. It’s like having a club full of supportive sensei’s!
7. What is the thing you enjoy the most in your training?
It is a combination of fitness, strength, control and flexibility which few other disciplines would offer. There is also the opportunity to spar in a controlled environment – that’s always good fun, even if you come second. But you won’t believe me until you’ve tried it.
8. What advantages does ECKA have other other martial arts clubs?
The ECKA setup is immensely reassuring, as you know that standards are high and there is no room for egos. Instructors help out other local ECKA clubs when needed, giving a sense of community.