Returning to Karate

"What’s it like to return to karate after a 15-year break?"
Gael Pawson did exactly that when she returned to training in February 2009.

Gael on the right at the 2010 Legends Competition

I first discovered karate when I was 19 or 20. The university I was at in Cheshire decided to run self-defence classes for female students, and the instructor inspired a couple of us to carry on. We found a sport that developed our fitness, and completely absorbing, a perfect antidote to the pressures of the constant essay deadlines. But when I left uni, life took over and my Gi was soon consigned to the loft.

Some 15 years later, for the first time in many years I found myself without a long commute to work. With a New Year’s resolution to use my free evenings to pick up some of the activities I used to enjoy in the past, I was easily persuaded to join a friend I was visiting for a session at his local club in Poole. That first evening was very daunting, but an hour and a half later I was buzzing and had a big grin on my face.

As soon as I got home I went straight onto the Internet… a bit of trawling threw up a local club. I plucked up my courage and rang the club Sensei. I have no idea what he made of the tentative voice that asked about joining, but I think I surprised him when I said I would be keen to come along that very evening. In actual fact, it would be the following week before I made it along – no comments please about girls and directions, I popped the postcode into my Sat Nav but it just took me to a roundabout! I certainly didn’t have the courage to walk into my first session late.

First few lessons

Arriving at the school the following week, I could see a stream of juniors clutching bits of paper, even finding the entrance was a challenge. The Sensei was easy to spot, fielding a range of questions from a gaggle of youngsters, his friendly smile helped to calm my nerves and he immediately set about introducing me to everyone.

Those first few lessons were a bit of a blur. I was very nervous, but I was determined to find my feet going to every session I could make. One minute I would find something that felt easy and natural, the next I would struggle with a very basic move. I was constantly amazed at what I remembered and how fast some bits came back. I was taken through Kion and Heinan Shodan; by the following lesson I could remember them.

The next lesson the Sensei took me through Hein Nidan, commenting, ‘You’ve done this before.’ He was right, it soon came back. However, I found Kumite a tougher challenge, feeling very nervous facing any opponent, but everyone helped. For some strange reason I really struggled with one block in particular; Soto Uke – it was as though my body remembered some things, but had forgotten others. One-step felt easier than five-step, and I had completely forgotten what anything was called, had no idea what I knew and what I didn’t, but then I wasn’t even sure of my Kyu grade (having previously trained with a different organisation) and even had to be shown how to tie my belt again! There seemed to be so many different kicks, remembering which was which was a real struggle. The katas came back quickly, but then they were always my favourite. Slowly but surely I began to find my feet, although even now, 12 months down the line, there are things that jump up and surprise me when I find something I have remembered, or forgotten completely. But I am beginning to feel myself finding a level to grow from.

It’s the people that make the club


When I left university I didn’t give up karate straight away; I joined a local club, but soon found I didn’t enjoy it any more. The key to my return was definitely finding the right club.

Sensei’s sense of humour constantly makes me smile, and he is very skilled at working people out, understanding what motivates them. So many times he has asked for a volunteer to do something, and grinned, ‘well done Gael’ when I certainly hadn’t put my hand up, telling Sensei Sue or Sensei Faye to work us hard because ‘Gael’s been complaining she hasn’t had a tough enough workout!’ There was the day he asked for volunteers to perform kata in front of the class – having ‘volunteered’ me and four black belts for the Kion, he then asked for the most junior grade present to do Hein Shodan, grinning: ‘Oh that will be you again Gael!’ proceeding to get me to do Nidan, Sandan and Yondan with a different group each time. By the end of it I was exhausted, but elated from the challenge. I might be very nervous and shy sometimes, but I love a challenge and respond well to being challenged – Sensei saw that from the start.

Megan, Gael and Lowri - 2nd in Ladies team Kata at the Legends Competition 2010

To return to the top press here

 

 
Sensei Lacho Nenov, Chief Instructor of IJKA Bulgaria - Teaching at Portchester Karate Club.

Sensei Latchezar Nenov 6th Dan and Chief Instructor of IJKA Bulgaria will be teaching at the Portchester club as follows.

Visitors are welcome, but please contact me first. on mvodonnell@hotmail.com

Wednesday evening, 24th July. Castle Primary school, Castle St, Portchester.

18.45 to 19.50. Junior grades.

20.00 to 21.20. Senior grades.

Thursday morning, 25th July. Community school, White Hart Lane, Portchester.

10.15 to 11.30am. This is the regular Thursday morning lesson, relocated to the Community school.

Friday evening, 26th July. Community school, White Hart Lane, Portchester.

18.50 to 19.50. Older childrens class.

20.00 to 21.20. Senior grades.

Saturday afternoon, 27th July. Rengokai Summer course. Community school, White Hart Lane, Portchester.

Arrive and Register 12.00 to 12.20.

Lessons between 12.30 and 15.30. Special additional class for Black and Brown belts. 15.45 to 17.00.

Sunday morning, 28th July. Rengokai Summer course. Community school, White Hart Lane, Portchester.   

Arrive and Register 09.00 to 09.20.

Lessons between 09.30 and 13.00.

Latest News

Events Calendar

<< August 2019 >>
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031