Fond memories recalled by founder as karate club reach special birthday milestone
- Credit: Archant
Dunmow Kyokushinkai Karate Club has reached a significant milestone in their history – as they celebrated their 35th birthday.
Led by Shihan Andrew Turner, it opened its doors for the first time on September 26, 1985 and since then has grown and grown.
Turner recalls the early days of the club with great fondness.
He said: “I had been training for five years at Bishop’s Stortford Kyokushinkai Club and decided to open my own training hall, or dojo, in my hometown.
“That first night in the Talberd Room at the Foakes Hall in Great Dunmow, 60 people attended a demonstration and the following week there were over 60 juniors and seniors who started training in two sessions.
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“I had to turn people away as there was no other karate club in Dunmow at that time.
“But I am still teaching and the club is as strong as it was back then with 60 plus members ranging from six-years-old up to nearly 60-year-old.
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“Even with the lockdown I managed to keep the club going by virtual training sessions and in August we trained outside at the recreation ground.
“We are now back at Dunmow Leisure Centre, training within government COVID guidelines. It’s good to be back in a Dojo.”
And he when he looks back on the 35 years, he is hard pushed to come up with one over-riding highlight, such is the plethora of choices.
He said: “We have had great success with national, European and world champions and we have also supported the Dunmow community with demonstrations at carnivals, school fetes and the Flitch Celebrations.
“We have raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities, one being very close to us, Huntington’s Disease Charity. One of our Black Belts, Senpai Sean Dillon is suffering from this disease and is now being cared for.
“Senpai Sean lived and went to school in Dunmow and was one of the first students to start. He was also one of the most successful, winning British, Russian and New York titles.”
Plans for a tournament and celebration evening in November have been postponed until restrictions are lifted.
They also hope to hold the next beginners’ course in January.
Anyone interested in the club should email firstname.lastname@example.org