I’ve recently been thinking a lot about my truly fabulous Shukokai Karate master Sensei Dave Warburton 8th Dan. Sadly he passed away too early, aged just 62, on the 26th September 2011. I had trained with him from the age of nine alongside my brothers and my Dad. Some people come into your lives that have such an impact on you that you remember their teachings and guidance for ever and Sensei Dave was one of those people.
He was a member of the SKU (Shukokai Karate Union) for forty years and was awarded his gold licence before he passed away. An achievement that acknowledged his vast contribution to the SKU and for helping the hundreds of youngsters under his expert tuition to gain their black belts.
My mum likes us all to set a New Year Resolution each year and at Christmas 2001 she came up with the idea of us all starting a martial art, my Dad used to do Karate when he was a teenager so she set about finding us a club to join. We were so lucky that we had such a fabulous traditional karate club on our doorstep as Sensei Dave was a assistant Chief Instructor and Chief referee of the SKU,
He was a strong believer in fitness, good technique, self control, self discipline and dedication. He persuaded my Dad to re-train alongside us. If you missed your practise nights you had to have a very, VERY good reason and look him in the eye and tell him yourself.
Sensei Dave persuaded me to compete in karate competitions; he wanted me to join the England squad and was disappointed that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it because of my other passions of the performing arts taking up the majority of my spare time. However, he understood my passion.
He was thrilled when I won the SKU National Competition in 2006. I always passed my grades with very high marks thanks to him drilling us intensely before every grading. I remember him telling all of the black belt graders “I’ve never had a failure, don’t be my first”. No pressure then Sensei Dave .
I felt so dizzy and sick after the adrenaline rush of my first dan black belt grading in Sheffield that I had to put my head between my knees and then eat a bunch of bananas
This is my final round entry from the competition where I performed “Ananku” a brown belt kata, followed with me receiving my trophy
It took me six years of solid practise, commitment and skill to achieve my second dan black belt and I was two and a half years in working towards my 3rd Dan when I had to stop, you need three years of 2nd Dan experience and commitment before you can take your 3rd dan grade.
We had lessons in different martial art styles occasionally and with nunchucks plus self defence training from Sensei Dave and Sensei Dan Smethurst who as well as being a 5th Dan Black Belt is also a professional instructor in conflict management and self defence techniques.
The Winsford, Knutsford and Middlewich clubs are now run by excellent teachers Sensei Emily Waring 4th Dan and Sensei Kathryn King 3rd Dan both previously students with Sensei Dave who I trained with when Dave got too poorly to teach.
I only stopped training when I moved to Scotland but the teachings of discipline, determination and dedication to karate or any art/sport have stayed with me and help me to focus on what is important, don’t rush your training, work hard, hone your skills, practise, practise, practise you are never as good as you think you are. I discovered that a few times flat on my back on a practise mat with a fist an inch from my face…. Dad!!! Mum banned me and my brothers from practising on each other when we got above brown belt ha ha ha.