The humble beginning of an incredible journey through martial arts.

“Jiu jitsu and martial arts do not build character, they reveal it. We are all born with unmeasurable courage and determination, but it is as we go through the trials of rigorous training that we rediscover those gifts.” – Ricardo Almeida

Ive thought about writing this for a long time and its something with a little more heart than my usual blog posts. In fact, this isnt really a blog post at all. This is more of a story. My story. A story starting with the beginning of my journey into the world of martial arts. This will be the start of a series of posts relating to my journey throughout my life and what I have learnt along the way. Please continue to read if you would like to come along for the ride with me. To delve deeper into brilliant moments within my history and learn what a life of martial arts can do for a person.

It all started when I was eight years old, I was already into sports. Swimming was my main interest however, I always had problems with the pressure and my ears. Eventually, I had to give up. This was an awful feeling and I wanted to do something to fill the void. This is when my dad introduced me to Judo. He had done it himself when he was a child up until around 16. He got to brown belt so made sure I got my black belt! But that is for later on in the story… Right now at the beginning I had no knowledge of anything to do with Judo and definitely didnt think stepping into a Dojo would go on to shape my life and who I am as a person. My dad took me and my older sister Sally to Dowtys Judo Club in Gloucester. It was a small dojo within a wooden outhouse. My sister Sally didn’t enjoy it. I can still remember her screaming everytime she was thrown! But I had a blast and definitely wanted to go back! I started going twice a week with some family friends (Terri & Sam).

Within the first year I started competing. I remember my first competition back in 2001! It was in a back garage in an industrial estate, with space for only one mat space and the smallest walking distance around the edge! It was a boiling hot day and they opened the shutters for the spectators. It’s weird I dont remember how my matches went, but I can clearly remember the atmosphere, the musky smell, and the nerves that I still get today. Ive been competing for 19 years in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu but yet I still get nervous at competitions!

Not long after this competition I ended up moving clubs to Cheltenham YMCA but that is a story for another time!

Thanks for reading, Let me know how you got into Martial Arts in the comments below!