Colin Broatch

A Chojinkai Senior Instructor

Colin Broatch 4th Dan Chojinkai Senior Instructor

In April 1975 I saw an advertisement for a Karate class in the Workington Grammar school which was the school I had attended. I had seen all the Bruce Lee films at the local cinema but the reason I was interested in starting Karate not for self-defence but more for fitness training. My sporting passion at the time was Sunday league football and thought Karate would give me the fitness and agility I needed.

As a 22 year old I was quite shy and lacked confidence. I plucked up the courage and shaking with nerves went along to the Karate class on my own to see what it entailed thinking if I didn’t like it or fit in I could just leave. I was introduced to Sensei Ray Young who was the chief instructor of Cumbria Wado-Kai and from that first lesson I was hooked on Karate, not just for the training but also the camaraderie and friendship shown by the people in the class. Workwise I was working 3 shifts but every time afternoon shift week came along I would put half a day’s holiday in twice a week just so I could go training. I enjoyed Kumite more than Kata and fought for the Cumbria Wado-Kai team. I will never forget my first competition which was in Carlisle. At the time in Kumite there were no mitts or gum shields and was semi-contact. In the first 10 seconds I had a burst lip and loose tooth which got rid of my nerves and went on to win all my 3 fights. Gradings were held over weekends, training Saturday in Workington then Sunday morning at Carlisle. The Grading was carried out Sunday afternoon by a visiting Japanese instructor.

In 1978 Sensei Ray Young along with his assistant instructor Sensei George Askew left Cumbria Wado-Kai to instruct and set up clubs in Sweden. Some of the remaining students decided to set up a club of their own. At the time I had achieved my 4th. Kyu but I did not think I could progress with them as a club so finished with Karate and concentrated on my football.

In 1991 my son, then aged 7, saw an advertisement for Karate lessons at the local Chojinkai Club and asked if I would take him along to try it out. I thought, well I tried it and enjoyed it so why not him, We went along to the Trinity Methodist church in Workington and Sensei David Graham introduced my son to the class. For the next few weeks I stayed and sat in the class watching while my young son got used to the class. I had finished playing football the year before and as I sat watching them train I thought even after 13 years out of it I could still do this so I asked Sensei Graham if I could join in to which he agreed and that was it I was hooked again.

After a few months of training and assessment it was agreed I would retain my 4th Kyu status. I was encouraged to travel to Whitehaven sometimes and train with Sensei Iain Abernethy and Chief Instructor Sensei Doug James. Not long after I joined the Workington Chojinkai Club Sensei Graham left because of home/work commitments and Sensei Gordon Harrison took over. Sensei Harrison played a major part in my progress in the club, with his encouragement and advice within 3 years I had achieved my goal of 1st Dan black belt in 1994. I had been assistant instructor for a while then because of Sensei Harrison’s other commitments I soon became Workington’s Head Instructor.

Over the following years I regularly trained under Sensei Harrison and Chief Instructor Sensei Doug James as well as run the Workington class. I also started to get involved in the associations competitions at first judging then refereeing. Following this I was encouraged to attend national referee courses to gain some qualifications.

Under the guidance of Sensei Harrison and Sensei James I was recently awarded my 4th. Dan black belt at the 40th Anniversary Chojinkai National Championships on 12th October 2014, of which I am very proud and thankful for all their help and encouragement. I am currently an English Karate Federation Referee “A” officiating at National and International competitions.

I encourage my students to train to be good at what they are doing not just for another coloured belt. I think one of the biggest pleasures I get out of teaching Karate is watching people, adults/children, joining the class all nervous and quiet then gaining in the confidence to show off their skills on the floor whether it be Kata/Kumite in a group or on their own.