Chris was one of the first instructors we asked to come on board to SHOTORAMA, and also one of the first to agree, and so we are grateful to him for showing such enthusiasm for the project, and helping us realise that our plans could become reality. Chris will be a familiar face for everyone in the southern region, but here is some more about his background and influences.
When did you start karate, and how long have you been training?
I started training in 1994 when I started my teaching degree at Canterbury Christ Church University.
What club are you at now, how did the club get started, how long has it been running?
Shiseikan SKC in Maidstone. I started the club 9 years ago, after a bit of gentle persuasion from Sensei Poynton, and to enable my son to train.
Have you tried/ do you have experience in other martial arts?
Only a taste through my own senseis: a hint of tai chi, judo and aikido.
Who have been your major influences/instructors?
My biggest influence by far has been Sensei Georges Dussart at Canterbury; I view him as my “karate dad”. I’ve always found his teaching inspiring, fun yet challenging… and there is a spiritual aspect to his karate that I’ve not experienced with any other instructor.
How would you describe your philosophy/attitude to karate?
Try your best always, aim to take something from every session.
What experiences from outside the dojo do you bring to your training/teaching?
Primary school teaching has shaped my approach to instructing. There are many elements of the classroom that apply to the dojo… and some elements of the dojo that I would love to apply to the classroom (such as the attitude to learning, the etiquette and respect.)
How does karate influence your life outside the dojo?
Massively! The ability to stay calm and focused in trying times is a huge benefit.
What is your favourite part/aspect of karate training?
The camaraderie. The fact that you can basically be warring with someone one moment, bow and everything is friendly, even if one of you has battered the other. I have made so many friends through karate.
Do you have a favourite exercise/drill/kata?
Gankaku… From the moment I first saw Sean Roberts do it the nationals
How would your students describe you/your lessons/club?
I don’t know, but they keep coming back. I’ve barely advertised over the past few years, but the club has more members now than ever!
What challenges/ambitions do you have?
4th Dan, Referee qualification and the first Shiseikan “born and bred” dan grade. (we’ve had a few grade to black belt, but they’d started elsewhere.)
Do you have any particularly memorable highlights of your karate career (so far)?
As a competitor – Runner up in the veterans’ kumite in the Southerns. Having the opportunity to compete against people such as John Bruce, Chris Cray and Hisham Saif. As an instructor – Seeing my students, from both Canterbury and Shiseikan, earning trophies, medals and new belts (especially black belts!). Watching Holly Sterling achieving all she has achieved. I had the pleasure of instructing her and her sisters at Canterbury for a short time when she was in her mid-teens (she was a higher grade than me, even then.) I don’t think I can claim to have had a major influence on her path in karate, but I am proud to have played a part in her journey.