At the beginning of 2016 a small boy walked into Kenbu Dojo’s smallest class. The class including him now had 4 members. His parents sat down the back of the hall and watched on as he joined in for his first lesson.
He was full of energy, never really listened to instructions as he was usually spinning around in circles or chatting with the student beside him and with one smile had Shidoshi Sinéad wrapped around his finger! He wore the tiniest pair of Tabi Boots we had ever seen and would give any challenge a try!
For the years that followed he came training every week, never missing a lesson and you could see how much he loved it. The lessons were just never long enough for him. Eventually he at one point was in class for 7 lessons over 3 days! He just never runs out of energy.
He took many belt tests and attended many extra events over the years. In fact we are pretty sure he has not missed any Kenbu events. From Budo on the Beach right down to our Japanese days and everything in between. Every grading gradually gets harder and harder, with more material to learn and demonstrate. Shidoshi Sinead has never known anyone to push as hard as this kid when it comes to belt testing. His journey is a very impressive one so far.
His junior belts to date:
Sept 2016 - Red Belt
May 2017 - Yellow Belt
Sept 2017 - Orange Belt
Sept 2018 - Purple Belt
Sept 2019 - Blue Stripe
Dec 2020 - Blue Belt
Sept 2021 - Advanced Blue
As he grew he became a real character in our Dojo. He listened more & wanted to be better all the time. He works harder than most students, and despite living a 40 minute drive away, he somehow convinced his poor parents to drive him to Gloucester 3 days a week and trains in every lesson possible.
In 2018 he won the biggest award in our dojo. Student of the Year. Which is voted for by the students, and he got 95% of the votes that year. With approx 60 students voting across 7 classes.
He showed a real interest for competition and has shown some real personal determination to be the best he can be. Happy to win but never a bad loser. Instead he shows emotion, asks what he could have done better and moves forwards. Cheering his teammates on no matter what.
Tournaments to Date:
In 2017 he entered his first club tournament - did not place.
Nov 2018 - British Championships, He became our first ever British Kenpo Champion in sparring after winning 1st place.
Dec 2018 - Club Comp 6th Forms & 9th Sparring
Nov 2019 - British Championships, Along with Brown and Black belts twice his size and experience came 3rd Sparring
Dec 2019 - Club Comp 3rd Forms, 8th Sparring & 5th Creative.
July 2020 - Virtual World Open Championships 4th Forms
Oct 2020 - Virtual European Championships 1st in Weapons, 2nd Forms making him a European Champion!!
Oct 2021 - Virtual European Champs 1st Weapons, 2nd Self Defence, 3rd Forms & 2nd Team Forms
Dec 2021 - Club Comp, in the under 17’s purple-brown belt division got 1st Creative, 3rd Forms and 3rd Sparring.
When you look at all the success he has shown over his 6 years of training. It would be easy to think he never makes mistakes, or that he never loses etc. Martial arts must be easy??? But in actual fact, what you see above is the blood, sweat and tears of a young man who never gives up. He is a student that drives himself forwards, always asking the right questions and gives 100% (well apart from the odd occasion he is our top argumentative student! ) His parents fully support his training and the teaching methods of Shidoshi Sinéad and his achievements and skills are ultimately all his own doing. Sinéad only ever gave him the tools, he had to practice and perfect how to use them.
While the whole world was living through a pandemic, he was online for every lesson possible. Pushing himself harder than any other student. He had one to one lessons regularly, regardless of the weather, rain, wind, scorching sunshine and snow. Nothing could get in his way.
In Nov 2020 he was determined to learn an incredibly long Bo Staff Form to enter into the virtual European Championships. As we closed the classes down with Covid restrictions it looked unlikely he would manage it. But instead he practiced constantly, he even hired his own hall to practice in and in the end managed to record the whole form. Ok it took, a few hours longer than everyone else, and Shidoshi Sinéad was very hungry and tired. But with that sort of determination even she would not step in his way. As mentioned above he came 1st place with that weapons form, a tremendous achievement for someone so young, then only went and repeated his results in 2021! He is unreal with his Bo Staff!! You must see it for yourself.
Now a young teenager, he is training hard at class and home preparing to travel to Malta in June to represent Great Britain and Kenbu Dojo at the European Championships 2022. Where he hopes to compete in the Purple to Green Belt division, in Forms, Weapons, Self Defence, Creative Forms, Team Forms and Team Sparring. He stands in the front row of almost all Kenbu Dojo lessons and leads the way for every lower rank behind him.
This guy will go far not only in training but in life in general, his attitude, abilities and determination are years above his age level.
If you ever get the opportunity to train with him at class, make the most of every second because he has a lot of knowledge and experience to share. We hope he will be part of Kenbu Dojo for life, because the club wouldn't ever be the same without him and we cannot wait to see where is journey will go from here.
If you or your child would like more information on Kenbu Dojo and what we do here in Gloucester UK. Please contact us through our website for more information and to book your first lesson. Who knows, you might get hooked like the student above and find you have a real talent or love for martial arts!