Eleven-year-old Abi Kearnes, pictured, is as pleased as punch. She’s gained her karate black belt. But the Holy Cross pupil, who lives in Berrylands, isn’t stopping there. After her 1st dan, she’s after more. “I want as many dans as possible,” she said. Abi, who also plays rounders, hockey, football, athletics and netball, has been
Eleven-year-old Abi Kearnes, pictured, is as pleased as punch. She’s gained her karate black belt. But the Holy Cross pupil, who lives in Berrylands, isn’t stopping there. After her 1st dan, she’s after more. “I want as many dans as possible,” she said.
Abi, who also plays rounders, hockey, football, athletics and netball, has been learning karate for five years. In the months leading up to her grading she trained three times a week and undertook a four-day course before pitting her skill against 10 black belts one after another to see how she fared. She passed with flying colours.
“Technically she’s very good, and very focused,” said proud instructor Jack Holdbrook. “She’s also very fit which certainly helped her push through.”
For Abi, it’s “really good exercise and you learn how to defend yourself”. There is, she says, a great team spirit at the Shoden Martial Arts & Fitness club.
Jack, head instructor at the club he set up in 2013, runs family karate classes at Southborough High School and the Hook Centre and beginners’ classes at Nuffield health centre, Long Ditton, and the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club.
“These days a lot of families are so busy with their separate lives that they aren’t often able to spend time together,” said Jack who has been training in seiki juku karate since he was nine, and achieved his 1st dan black belt in 2005 and his 3rd dan in 2016. “With these classes they can spend quality family time, plus they are all getting fit together.”
Jack, of Courtlands Road, said some families liked the competition between themselves as well as helping each other progress.
“The kids can encourage the parents and the parents can encourage the kids. It works both ways. They are all learning the same thing at the same time. They are equal – they all work together learning a new or different skill at the same time as exercising. It’s a good atmosphere and it is always positive.”
Jack, who also has a 1st dan in jujutsu, runs juniors, advanced, adults-only and kick-fit martial arts classes too.
“Karate also helps with discipline, respect, concentration, co-ordination, and balance,” he added.
Visit www.shoden.club for details about free two-week trials on all classes.