Phil’s Journey to Black Belt

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Like most adults of my age, I was drawn to martial arts with the release of the Karate Kid films in the mid 80’s. It’s great to see another influx of kids inspired by the Cobra Kai series. So at the age of twelve, with no karate clubs available in our area, myself and my two younger brothers began training at a local Aikido club. We trained there for a about three years before other interests took over. In my mid teens I also tried my hand at Judo for a year or two.

Fast forward a few years, my two children, Ollie and Izzy wanted to stop going to their weekly clubs (Rainbows and Cubs), but I said they had to choose another activity to replace them. In the hall opposite was a Karate club…they signed up for their free trial lesson and loved it.

I spent about 5 months watching them every week, often helping to correct their stances and moves. Until one day I thought ‘why don’t I just join in’ and I’ve not looked back. I’d definitely encourage any parents to come and give it a go.  Please don’t be concerned about your current fitness levels; they certainly improve quickly.

It’s great to have an interest/activity that all three of us can do together. But after two years, the club we were at didn’t fit with what we wanted from karate. They were very much into the competitive side of karate.

After a quick google search I found Loughton Karate Club, and promptly emailed sensei Steve. He invited us to come and train and let us keep the grades we had obtained from our previous club.

I prefer learning the practical application of karate. It has definitely opened up my awareness of different teaching styles and the practical application of Karate and its katas.

I’d like to say a big thank you to ALL the students that have helped me, especially over the last 2 months, get ready for my 1st dan grading. Another big thank you  goes to sempai Steve Eastwood for taking the time to arrange some 1-1 training sessions. And of course a huge thank you to sensei Stephen O’Brien for all his help, training, support and friendship. We have always felt like valued members; it’s great to be a part of such a family friendly club.

I am also proud to be asked to be a sempai and help out where I can in class, which I really enjoy.

In July, we will have been at Loughton Karate club for 4 years. I am extremely proud to have passed my 1st dan (black belt grading). Ollie and Izzy are now brown belt 3rd kyu’s, training for their 2nd kyus.

So if we can do it, so can you. Keep training hard, and never give up.

Phil Parsons
1st Dan