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Shotokai Karate has Improved My Life!

The following was written by one of our new members: Dafydd James who has been with us for 6 months. It is included here as it is very applicable to new members starting out!

I joined the Karate-do Shotokai Club 5 months ago in January based at Headlands School in Penarth. I had been looking at the various types of Karate for several weeks previous and decided this was the ideal class for me as it incorporates mind, body and soul into its movements and ethos.

Being in my early forties and a complete novice, I was quite apprehensive the instructor and all of the other members were very welcoming.  I also found the instructor Jonathan deí Claire to be very knowledgeable about Karate. I later found out that his karate lineage is directly linked to Master Mitsusuke Harada, the Japanese founder. Master Harada had graded him for all of his belts including his present level of 4th Dan-Blackbelt.

Back to my story, I was overweight and felt stuck in a rut. I used to play rugby and football and tried other forms of exercise such as jogging and the gym. But Shotokai is different to all those as you are using such a variety of different muscles (you also donít have to run yourself ragged to experience the benefits).

It is the physically exerting exercises that stretches your muscles and keeps you supple and is mentally stimulated. It helps my train of thought and concentration... this struck me as a healthy balance between body and mind. I began attending the 7- 9pm classes on Monday and Wednesday and it has lifted and strengthened me both mentally and physically. As and added bonus I have also lost a considerable amount of weight too!

I am meeting and learning from different individuals, not only from the experienced people - but also from those who's drive and determination to better themselves rubs off on me. Everyone in the class has gone to great lengths to make me feel welcome and involved. I have never felt intimidated or excluded, something I put down to the strong sense of community and respect at the club. Indeed there is also a strong social aspect to the club, who regularly eat out together. I consider many of the members to be friends, and look forward to learning the art of Shotokai Karate for many years to come.

Now I have extended my personal development and have begun to attend national courses, which are held all over the UK. I am hoping to learn and develop from other students around the country. Shotokai Karate is now the centre of my personal development. Even though I have decided to apply more method to this process, it remains one of the most important pillars of my physical strength development also.

My advice would be , whether you are a boy or girl, women or a man, to try Shotokai Karate, you don't need to be a world champion to get enormous benefits and this also applies even if you think you are to old, to heavy, to light or don't have enough time. There are excellent opportunities for you to develop to your own capabilities. It would be fair to say that Shotokai Karate has changed my life for the better! See you at the club.

Dafydd James

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