Why did you start martial arts?
Because I was bullied at school; I found it a good way to build confidence and physical and emotional strength. In a very short period of time it worked. I started in boxing but it was just the physical which was good, the martial arts did the physical and the mind which is where battles are won and lost.
What do you think is the greatest benefit they offer?
Self-confidence basically. You keep testing and testing yourself and then it crosses over to your ordinary life as well.
What is your greatest achievement?
Getting my black belt in Kyokushinkai is the one that stands out the most. We did a grading and the 10 man kumite which was pretty daunting. It was the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Can martial arts be a guiding light for society?
Yes because the more you learn to fight the less you fight. If you look at ma they run away from violence rather than look to fight. If you go to Japan there are a huge number of people who are well-trained but they have a low crime rate.
What’s your favourite technique?
Right cross, because it’s simple and easy to work and develop with practice. You can work on bags, pads and punching dummies, the more you train the better it gets. John F Gilbey who wrote “Secret fighting arts of the world” has a technique called “Dinky little poke” which is off the front hand but can be done rear hand.
What’s your favourite pattern?
The first kata, Taikyoku Shodan. Because it’s simple and teaches you directions, focus and power. The more you do it the better it gets. Even though it’s basic it’s very powerful and strong.
What’s the funniest moment you can think of?
Me having to wear tights to the summer camp and train. It was a forfeit, we had a stick and they could only take it off through trickery. They took it off me and I had to wear the tights.
What’s the worst injury you’ve suffered?
Broken ribs. I got them in a tournament.
Where would you like to see martial arts in 25 years?
I would like to see it taught in schools, workplaces, police army, I think it’s a fantastic character building exercise and should be part of everyone’s life. It’s great for kids, not every kid wants to be a footballer, it appeals to people who don’t want to do team sports.
How would you like to be remembered?
As being someone who has been straight and honest with people and told them the truth. If you train hard you get results if you don’t you don’t get results.