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“Gave my Kenpo away” - Sinéad Byrne

Many, many years ago, *cough…22 …cough ….I’m old… cough* I started my Kenpo journey. Hooked, addicted, captivated, absorbed….. I could never get enough. Training up to five nights a week, helping teach classes and in every free second between classes I practiced.

I competed at least once a month in the peak of my training, travelled the world for ten of those years to international tournaments, winning many awards and making so many memories. Attended every seminar available, whether that was Kenpo or other styles. Basically, if you were willing to teach/share, I was willing to learn.

It was personal, a journey about myself, adding to my Kenpo cup consistently. Me, myself and I, there was nobody else. You could literally ask me, what’s the 14th technique on Green belt and I’d have given you the correct answer, alongside all principles and concepts and what techniques related to that one.

Fast forward to 2012 when I opened my own club, I began to teach, teaching 5 nights a week and training on top of that. Slowly my Kenpo wasn’t mine anymore, I was sharing it out one move at a time. I didn’t think about myself and I guess I just assumed I could never forget my Kenpo.

Fast forward 12 years and I now have a very successful school, with some of the most amazing kids and adults around. I’ve slowly emptied my Kenpo cup, as I’ve given it all away. My club is growing by the day and students are climbing the ranks, so now I’m back to focusing on my own training once again. To re-learn the higher level techniques, forms and sets, to continue to be able to share my knowledge with them for many years to come.

So in short, I’m the worlds worst kenpoist. I don’t have a fast recall of the techniques, some of them you can call out and I’ll have nothing more than a blank look on my face. I used to cry a lot about not knowing what I should, beat myself up over what I could no longer remember. Was I no longer a kenpoist? Would I be doomed to hide away forever?

But I have never not trained, I’m still on the floor up to 15 hours per week, I give my heart and soul to it. It’s just these days I have to remind myself to work my Kenpo, practice my forms or techniques and slowly month by month I’m refilling that Kenpo cup with all the syllabus based knowledge I can, one technique at a time.

Don’t let my 2nd Degree rank fool you though, as I’ve worn that now for the last 14 years, my rank may not have changed, but I have more knowledge, understanding and experience then some much higher ranking black belts out there. I’ve used my Kenpo to teach my students and help them gain new ranks, I’ve used my Kenpo to genuinely change peoples lives, I’ve used my Kenpo to help kids that didn’t feel accepted in this world have a family to belong to and I’ve used my Kenpo to inspire a whole new generation.

I’m grateful to some of the amazing people I’ve met and chatted to in recent years about my Kenpo, especially to those who have helped and listened to me, encouraging me to keep going and that I am not as terrible as I think I am! They know who they are.

Rank is not everything, but I do promise to keep going, keep learning/relearning what I once knew. So, no I can’t show you Fatal Deviation or Unwinding pendulum…. But trust me, if you throw an attack my direction, I can knock you on your arse faster than most lol

Have you ever fought like a girl? No? Let me introduce you to how, next time we meet!

I gave my Kenpo away, and now as my students grow, they give it all back to me, in their enthusiasm and drive to climb the ranks behind me, as always everything I do is for the students I teach. I will strive to learn more, so they can be better martial artists than I ever could have dreamed of.

Watch this space…..

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