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

I was 9 when I joined ECKA, it was a joint decision with my parents, my little sister started at the same time.

How do you maintain your school/training balance? 

It isn’t too difficult to maintain a balance just slighty harder when I have school sports fixtures on training days,  if anything it has helped me stay focused at school.  Now I have started at upper school I have a lot more homework, it is nice having a few hours away from it each week.

Did you ever feel like quitting?

During Covid it was quite challenging with classes being online, I am glad I persevered and although it was different it was nice to see my club friends for the online classes and socially distanced outdoor classes during the pandemic.

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

I have felt better and fitter from training.  I find gradings quite stressful but I have learnt ways to help me deal with it.  Sensei Jo helped me to learn to use my nerves in a positive way. I have been able to use these techniques when I have been nervous about tests and exams in school too.

What did you think about your first few classes?

I think I probably felt nervous to begin with. I have always enjoyed classes and have fun learning.

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

I really enjoy partner work and I love sparring.  I found competing overwhelming to begin with but now I really enjoy it.  I am very proud to be a class assistant.

What would your advice be to anyone considering martial arts?

Give martial arts a try, you learn much more than just martial arts and how to defend yourself. It’s a great way to improve your confidence and learn new skills.

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

I am currently a brown belt and I am hoping take my First Kyu grading in February and then progress to my black belt!

Riley Shearman

Age 14