How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts?
I was 30. Decided to take it up after my brother joined and raved about how good it was!  I coached a lot of football at the time and wanted to experience a different perspective from a coaching point of view…I also needed to get myself fit! Working as a chef and being on the touchline of a football pitch, rather than on it had made me a bit…cuddly!

Why did you choose ECKA?
I tried a couple of different forms of martial arts, but Sensei Jo really believes in what she’s doing and has an infectious enthusiasm for it. The students are all friendly and respectful and it makes for a great learning environment

How do you maintain your work / life balance and has it ever got in the way of training?
Sometimes after a long rubbish day at work I feel like I lack a bit of energy and can’t be bothered…however I never regret it when I do go feeling like this…it’s a great stress reliever!

Have you ever feel like quitting training?
As long as my back, arms and legs are working then no, I always try to make it!

Has martial arts had an effect on any areas of your life outside of the dojo?
Martial arts has given me the confidence and drive to push myself harder. Last year I signed up for tough mudder which is a half marathon assault course, this year I’m signed up for the London marathon. 4yrs ago I wouldn’t of dreamed of doing these! But now I feel fitter, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been…and also who wouldn’t get a kick from being able tell people your a ninja!

What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?
To try ECKA!

What did you think about your first few classes or first time at an ECKA class?
When I first joined I struggled a bit, I was weak and lacked fitness. However I stuck with it. Sensei Jo and the higher grade students would always encourage and support, they offered me advice on many different things, techniques, strengthening, conditioning, flexibility and even diet. Now I feel so much better about myself.

What is the thing you enjoy the most in your training? Have you achieved more than you thought?
I enjoy it all, every class is different, pads, sparring, technical, it’s all very varied.  I achieved a B in my last grading for purple belt, which is the highest grade I’ve had to date. I’m very proud of that, and in 2014 I got into the top 10 of the grand prix for the novice fighters.