Karate Kid – Kiai

Dave Warburton – 8th Dan

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.

Thomas, Me and Matthew after grading for the first time.

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.

Training hard for my competitions

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.

My First Dan Certificate
My Second Dan Certificate

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.

Ellie King ( one of my best friends ) and me training in the dojo.

56 thoughts on “Karate Kid – Kiai

  1. Gobsmacked… that’s what I am 🙂
    Let me guess, next year you are gonna sail around the world, blind-folded, in a bath tub, wearing a French Air Vice Marshall’s uniform and singing Led Zeppelin songs all day long…???

    1. I had the complete privalige of trainng with Sensei Dave at Sandbach, and also John Scott at Holmes Chapel. He was amazing, but also a bit scary! (In a good way) This only added to the discipline. Sorely missed xx

      1. Yes, I wish I could visit Dave now for a pep talk.
        All my best wishes

  2. Charlotte, you are really a young woman facinante …. But it is true that martial arts are double arts in that they also teach us to work to develop a passion, stress management, breathing, respect for self and others. Personally, I did judo and archery …. And there is a common point between a kimono and an evening gown, no hand pockets …..;-) Your Chi is like a rainbow
    bright thoughts

    1. Bonsoir Pascal, I really credit my karate and swimming for breath control and you need plenty of good breath control when singing.
      I love rainbows so many colours and people stop to stare and admire them because they are so full of wonder.
      I’d love to do archery.
      All the best

  3. Love the tribute to your late sensei, and even more so the underlying emphasis on the importance of dedication, perseverance, and determination! Thank you, Charlotte.

    1. Hi Darren, I got quite emotional thinking about my Sensei, he was very uncompromising no matter how much he liked you he would never just give you your grade belt, you had to really work at it. When I watched my video back I could hear him saying “how many times have I told you Charlotte slow down!”. There was many a child that left because they couldn’t take the criticism.
      All the best

      1. Hi Shelley, your dad was a lovely man and a big influence on all of my family. So pleased you got to see this 🙂 thanks for leaving me a message.
        Best wishes

  4. Terrible times loosing a sensei – but good memories and years of training!
    I too did years of Karate – Shotokan.
    I moved to the coast along time ago and chilled out – but recently relocated to the Midlands, closer to family. I seem to be surrounded by dojo’s and styles… it’s too tempting not to do more martial arts / self defence!
    (swim daily, and run 3 times a week)…..
    Bit active for a Wood Turner!

    1. Yes Steve, he meant a lot to many people. Very good memories. My Dads first karate was Shotokan very similar but not as relaxed I think.
      I used to swim in competitive squad training sessions I don’t know how I fit everything in. But running nooooo! It’s good to be active 😉
      Best wishes

    1. Andy on twitter suggested combining the arts of karate and opera. Shogun the Opera now there’s a thought, a high kicking Madame Butterfly lol. Now I just need someone to write it for me 😉 lol
      Best wishes

    1. Hi Dylan lol 😉
      I have this Slam Man at home to practise kicking on, the truth is it hurts 😉 and the first thing you’re taught is if you see danger RUN!
      Best wishes

    1. Hi Dan 😉 I like the fluidity in Kung fu. I did a bit of Aikido and Jiu Jitsu in the club it was a great way to stay fit. All martial arts are great discipline and teach endurance. One of the best lessons I took from it was how to take criticism well, there were a few times I was near to tears but I learnt to not show it. I also loved the praise when I did a good job and when other kids buckled under competition pressure and an audience I’m just a big show off and loved it 😉
      All the best

  5. What an inspiration. Success is through hard work as you have shown. You will reach your dreams because you are determined and willing to work hard for those dreams. It will be a pleasure to watch your journey.

  6. So I take it that you will be the first singing master of karate. I never took karate but I am a longtime practitioner of tai chi. Have found it is a wonderful way to begin my days.

      1. You can either take tai chi as a martial art or as an exercise. I prefer the exercise. But even as a martial art it is non-aggressive much the same as akido. It is also great for meditation. While you are doing the exercises, you are focusing on your body and not your challenges.

    1. My Dad was 40 was he took karate back up and still goes now, although he says kneeling for the etiquette at the end of the lesson can be tough. Tai Chi sounds good too. Perhaps you should just sign up in January 😉
      Best wishes

  7. Look at you! Great post. Martial arts absolutely enrich our lives and our character in a way that other forms of education cannot. Your post could not have come at a more perfect time, as we are dealing with some issues here concerning unscrupulous martial arts instructors. It always makes me happy to hear about an honorable sensei. Rest in peace, Sensei Dave.

    1. Thanks Noony, I’m sorry to hear about bad experiences, all the instructors I’ve met have been very scrupulous. Indeed RIP Sensei Dave I just wish he could have heard me sing so he’d realise how important my music is to me and how he helped in his own way to get me this far 😉
      Best wishes

      1. My complaints have to do with mixed martial arts instructors. I find that MMA produces a lot of egotistical buffoons. I support only the “pure” martial arts, and the experience is totally different. But that is a whole other rant. Sensei Dave would have been very proud of you. 🙂

  8. What wonderful training and good to hear the tribute to your Sensei. I only had a year of Judo, but it was very influential and, when she was six, my daughter took it up for a few years – definitely good for both discipline and self-defence.

    1. Hi Hilary, I have been very lucky to have such opportunities when growing up. Is Judo still in the Olympics? Sports get an extra boost from the Olympics when they are allowed to compete on a big platform.
      Best wishes

  9. An iron fist in a velvet glove.
    A warm heart yet tough as steel
    The voice of angels from above
    An image of beauty unconcealed

    best wishes

  10. I didn’t know you did karate too! Part of me wants to learn sometime, but I’m busy enough with horseback riding. Loved your tribute to your instructor; sounds like he was a really wonderful teacher. 🙂 My riding instructor is much the same: incredibly tough and demanding, especially the further you progress, but it makes a “good job” from him that much more rewarding.

    1. It’s so difficult when you enjoy lots of variety but you know you have to eventually concentrate on one discipline. I put off finishing my other sports and activities as long as I could and kept up with karate, ballet, tap, swimming and on until I left school.
      It is always fabulous when you get a ‘well done’ from a tough teacher 😉
      Best wishes

  11. I wrote something recently on my blog about being centered. Martial Arts teaches this and it can be applied across so many facets of our lives. Having a strong core and breath control I am sure helps when singing and performing and even dancing.

    Sorry about your instructor. There are always those whom pop into our lives and have a large impact. Sometimes we don’t even realize until far later in the future.

    1. Thanks for your comment Steve, I would recommend Martial arts for children and adults, it is great for self-discipline and self confidence. You are correct about fitness and breathing control too and timing.
      Thanks for visiting, hope you get chance to pop back from time to time.
      Best wishes

  12. Hey, I came across this searching for “Dave Warburton”, And Incredible post and I used train in Winsford, got to 3rd Kyu and on the Fight squad, been a good 11 years since I last properly attended a Karate class and I miss it very much, I even remember you there!

    1. Hey, lovely to hear from you, thanks for leaving a message, I miss practise too but I still keep up the flexibility exercises they are excellent for core strength.
      All the best

      1. Always good to hear! Since then I have worked for an international Karate club with recruitment, but I plan to get back into Karate for the sake of unwinding, had many good memories there!

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