Despite only opening its doors three years ago – a Knowle West karate group has kicked into action and walked off with dozens of awards – including at the world championships.
The Shukokai Karate Club meets twice weekly at Filwood Community Centre – with members ranging from age six to 56. Between them they have clocked up 18 medals and 12 trophies just in the past year.
It is the youngsters in the group who have really come up trumps – sweeping the board with accolades – from the Gloucester Invitational Opens to the Battle of Britain and Gloucester League Championships – where they are regional championships.
In October the group also headed to the World Championships in Worcester – held in the UK for the first time in 20 years – and got into the top ten.
Instructor Val Davies is justifiably proud of their achievements. She says: “They aim to please. I give them the material, and show them how to do it. The goal is to be the best they can be and how they prove it is by going to tournaments and competing against other clubs from all over the world…”
Ashton O’Callaghan (9) who attends Oasis Academy Connaught has clocked up seven medals and three trophies this year – and only took up the martial art 14 months ago.
He says: “I like the learning all the moves and putting it together, I like that I’ll be against a lof of other people like when we go to the World Championships.”
For Angel Davies (11) who goes to Oasis Academy John Williams and comes with her seven-year-old sister Penny, it is all about gaining confidence.
She says: “I wanted to defined myself because I was getting picked on – but not now. I have got six medals and two trophies this year.”
Youngest member Cayden Eckland (six) another pupil at Oasis Connaught school has also been winning medals and comes to sessions with dad Dante.
Dante (37) says: “We both compete, I came to his first grading… and I got addicted to it. I started 10 months ago and was 25 stone and I’m now 18 stone!”
The parents also believe the discipline involved as well as the concentration and focus needed has also helped them at school.
Val adds: “I’ve seen students come and go since we opened the doors but I believe this lot is for life – the determination they show.”
The Shukokai Karate Club meets at Filwood Community Centre on Wednesdays 5-6pm and Sundays 4-5pm Call: 07495 929 659.