How old were you when you started training? 

I started training when I was 7 ½, before finding Sensei’s club I tried a few other ones but didn’t enjoy them. I played football first but I wanted to learn a martial art.

How do you maintain your school/training balance?  

Now I’m at Upper School, it’s a lot harder as I get up to 10 pieces of homework a week. I try to get my homework done on nights I don’t train. Some weeks it can be tiring trying to do everything but I find training gives me more energy.

Did you ever feel like quitting?

Yes after about 6 months, I had done my second tournament and it didn’t go very well. My mum dad and Sensei all helped me not to,  now I have been training for 6 ½ years.

Has martial arts had an effect on any areas of your life outside of class?  

It has improved my confidence a lot, I was shy when I started kickboxing, there are lots of different new things with Kickboxing, such as grading, competing, going to other clubs and places to train.  Sensei Jo has always helped and taught me lots,  as you become better you become more confident and less nervous.  I still get nervous before competitions and before my black belt grading, but you know how to cope with it.   My fitness is very good as I have trained 3 to 4 times a week for years and it makes you stronger.

What did you think about your first few classes?

I was shy and nervous  but the other kids were nice and I made friends quickly.

What is the thing you enjoy the most in your training? 

I enjoy sparring the most. I have achieved more than I ever thought I could. I acehived my black belt, which you can only grade for after 5 years with ECKA, and the grading is over 5 hours.  There are ECKA tournaments throughout the year and I have won 11 golds, 10 silvers and 10 Bronze medals.  My best moment was winning a gold at the ECKA nationals in 2019 for Freeform, which I trained really hard for the whole year with Sensei coaching me lots. 

Do you have anything else you would like to achieve within your training?

I would like to achieve my second and third dan and become a Sensei.   I help teach at the younger classes as a class assistant and it’s great fun helping the Little Buzzards and juniors.   I also want to win more competitions and the national competition for points fighting, as I have finished 3rd at the nationals in points already.  Also to become the best I can at sparring.

What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?

Try it and have fun, everyone is nice at the club.

Charlie Coles

1st Dan Black Belt

Age 13