How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts?
38. The focus and mindfulness of martial arts appealed to me and I wanted something that would help me train in a varied way.


Why did you choose ECKA?
My children inspired me to join ECKA – they both train with Sensei Jo and I had the chance to see how much fun they were having! It got to the point where watching from the gallery was not enough!


How do you maintain your work / life balance, has there been a time when work was threatening to get in the way of training and what made you continue training?
I have a packed routine that often tries to swamp my efforts to train. I find having the fixed sessions in the dojo great for maintaining the pattern but also as an individual sport I can train in any spare slots I find with the motivation of improving myself for the next trip to the dojo – every little contributes.  Sensei Jo is very inspirational and her enthusiasm for the sport is contagious.


Did you ever feel like quitting?
I have only been training for around 6 months but I can honestly say that I have looked forward to every session and don’t feel that energy wearing off anytime soon.


Has martial arts had an effect on any areas of your life outside of the dojo?
Joining ECKA has given me a focus for keeping fit and healthy and has already taught me to think about this in a holistic way. My thinking and mood have changed in positive ways, including feeling more calm and having better clarity in difficult situations. I am finding better motivation to eat well and generally take care of my body.


What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?
Try it! You might surprise yourself.


What did you think about your first few classes or first time at an ECKA class?
It took me a while to pluck up the courage! But I very quickly found that the people were friendly, thoughtful and very considerate of my newbie status – proving plenty of support and advice. Sensei Jo was great at providing the right level of challenge for me in my early classes and was quick to help if I was a bit off track, also encouraged me immensely when I was being shy of the challenge!


What is the thing you enjoy the most in your training?
Everything! I honestly look forward to every session. I am learning a new sport and life skills and have already got much fitter while having fun with great people! I did not see myself competing when I made the decision to join ECKA as I was just looking to get fit and did not see myself as having what it takes but with the support and encouragement of my training partners and Sensei Jo I took part in an inter club competition after only four months of training and came away with a huge smile and a 1st place in my category! I also took part in the 2015 National competition and while it was a big challenge for me (along with another bout of not thinking its was something I could do!) I took away good experience, another big smile and am training for the next one!