Meet Pete Jardine, current 1st Dan Black Belt

1 How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts?

About 11 years old, It was the mid 80’s and it was very popular at the time, lots of kung fu movies etc.. Regrettably, the club I joined moved premise to another town after about two year and my training ended.

2. Why did you choose ECKA?

Fast forward 20 years , my cousin started training at ECKA Leighton Buzzard. The club had structure, a proper grading syllabus and was affiliated. It’s been about 8 years now  I’ve not missed a week of training pretty much. It still is addictive. The dojo is my place, stresses of daily life cease and training is varied so I don’t get bored.

3. How do you maintain your work / life balance, has there ever been a time when work/school was threatening to get in the way of training and what made you continue training?

I’ve always had a desire to train and yes work gets in the way but not every day. Balance is getting to the dojo when I can.  I also make space to train on my own so if I can’t get to class.

4. Did you ever feel like quitting?

At the start when I was finding my feet it would have been easy to quit but once you get into it, martial arts becomes a part of life rather than something you do. I’ve had some setbacks though, after surgery to correct a hip impingement the surgeons advised me to stop training or I would wear out what I had left.   Fortunately, my physiotherapist was more optimistic but importantly understood that martial arts is more than “what I do”, it is a way of life.  The physiotherapy was hell.  I went from being able to do spinning hook kicks to not being able to lift my leg up from the bed. This was depressing to say the least and at times I thought my time with ECKA was over.  I persevered though.  12 months later and I’m back at it, not 100% but I’m getting there.

5. Has martial arts had an affect on any areas of your life outside of the dojo? (health, stress, confidence…)

Yes! Yes! Yes! I gave up smoking about 6 years ago which had a marvellous effect on my health. Being fit enough to not get punched in the face is good motivation to quit!  Karate is also good for stress relief, nothing like sweating it out with a pad session to get over a stressful day in the office!

Giving up smoking was also the catalyst to me starting running, to improve my overall fitness. My runs ended up getting longer and longer and in 2015 I ran the London Marathon! I would have never dreamed this was possible previously.

 6. What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?

Just do it. If you’re considering it you’re halfway there already.

8. What did you think about your first few classes or first time at an ECKA class?

It was nostalgic. Fortunately press-ups are no longer completed on your fingertips and your Sensei no longer stands on you!  ECKA is a good balance of learning and application, and has a modern feel about it.

9. What is the thing you enjoy the most in your training? Have you achieved more than you thought (if so what?)

I love the camaraderie. Whether you’re doing a grading together, entering a competition or just general training the spirit is what I enjoy the most.   I never planned on grading but have achieved black belt and have my sights on 2nd Dan!   I’ve fought in loads competitions too.  I’ve returned from injury, after being told it would not be possible. All of this I never thought would happen 10 years ago!

Start your journey with ECKA, book your free class today!