I am Sho-Dan (1st black belt) in Shotokan Karate. I started training in 1983 with the Edinburgh University Shotokan Karate Club, and trained there until I left Edinburgh in 1993. I took my Sho-Dan exam in 1988.

I don't like competing, because I was never really any good at it. Edinburgh University Shotokan Karate club had a very traditional training regime, under the guidance of senior instructor Kenny Taylor, 4th Dan (now 5th Dan), and chief instructor M. Kawasoe, 6th Dan (now 8th Dan). E.U.S.K.C. was, and still is, part of the Tora-Kai group of clubs, affiliated with the Karate Union of Scotland and the Japan Karate Association at the time, and latterly with the Traditional Shotokan Karate Federation. I trained at several summer courses at Heriot-Watt University, involving many Japanese instructors, including Senseis Kawasoe, Enoeda, Naito, Tsuyama and Arigano.

After leaving Edinburgh in 1993, I started training again, after a two year break, with a club in Girton (near Cambridge), but they unfortunately folded after a couple of months. Before moving to the USA, I had been training irregularily with the Cambridge University Karate club. The club trains at the University gym at Fenner's.

I did not train for my first few years in the USA. I destroyed the ACL in my right knee almost as soon as I got here, and took a couple of years to get back to the level of functionality I need for karate. After nearly six years, I visited the Washington JKA Shotokan Karate Club (now Puget Sound Shotokan) in May 2002, and am now training again regularly, under Senseis Skip Matthews, Thom Macfarlane, and Robert Graves. I was fortunate to train several times under Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama, and tested for Ni-Dan in front of him in 2007.

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Last modified on 16th November 2008 by angus@harlequin.com