I started karate as a 9 year old; the teenage mutant hero turtles and karate kid films had made me determined to be a black belt. I had tried a few judo sessions and enjoyed myself, but it was when I first trained with Sensei Roger Sayce that I knew that karate would be my martial art of choice. At the end of my first ‘taster session’ I asked him, “is there any more you can teach me?” I have been learning ever since. I spent my early karate career training hard at Tekki Aberystwyth. I have very fond memories of travelling around the country with Sensei Roger and my friends at the club, training under the senior KUGB instructors and competing at tournaments. I gained my 1st Dan (black belt) at the age of 12, and had some successes as a junior at competitions, and also trained with the Welsh squad for the first time.
I did less training when I left home to study at University as there was no club in the local area, however, after my studies I returned to karate with renewed energy and again started training with the Welsh kata and kumite squads. In 2007 I gained my 3rd Dan black belt; this was a game changer for me as it showed me what could be achieved if you were willing to work hard for it. The following year I represented Wales for the first time, competing at the European Shotokan Karate Association championships, and have since gone on represent Wales many times at both the European and World championships, competing in kata, team kata and kumite events.
I have won many medals at regional and national championships as a senior competitor. My proudest moments include winning the Shotokan Cup (the KUGB’s National Individual Championships) in two consecutive years, twice becoming Welsh kata champion and taking the best overall competitor trophy, and winning a silver medal in the kumite event at the Welsh championships.
Although I’m not sure I will ever admit to being ‘retired’ from competition, competition has taken a back seat for me since the end of 2016. I am now a 4th Dan black belt, and still train every week with Sensei Simon Thompson at the Cardiff dojo, where I also teach regularly. I look forward to helping the next generation of Tekki RS students fulfil their potential.