After getting his 5th Dan
In training 2008
Sensei Tom Currie
5th Dan Wado-Ryu
I started karate training in 1971, under Sensei Mick Mulroy, at the Spa Sports Centre in Bolton. He was ex-forces and taught a Korean based karate, part of the Tang Te Kwan Association.
Later, this club morphed into a Shotokan club, under KUGB and I trained to 2nd Kyu. The abiding memory from this time was attending Crystal Palace for the UK amateur championships, won by Danny Bryceland (Scotland) against Steve Cattel (England). I recall this was refereed by Andy Sherry. Other notable competitions included those at Belle Vue, Manchester.
In 1974, at Manchester University, I met Eddie Cox, 4th Dan, Taekwondo and trained for a short time but academic work took the focus so I stopped training.
After graduating much of my spare time was spent doing outdoor pursuits, and rock-climbing. In 1984 I joined Sundorne Karate Club, then training in Shrewsbury, at The Phoenix School, Dawley and also in the Church Hall, Trench, under Sensei Frank Johnson. We also joined with Clive Wright for training sessions in Bridgnorth when Sensei Sakagami presided.
In 1987 whilst rock climbing in North Wales, I took a serious injury to my back, smashing the horizontal process bones on the spine and compressing three vertebrae. Medical experts told me I would never be able to run again (they were right) or do sports, and I would have to give up Karate. I was devastated and for 14 years I disappeared from active life, just focused on my career in Criminal Justice.
In late 2000, my eldest daughter decided to take up Karate, and I went to buy a Gi at Sensei Frank Johnson’s store in Frankwell. The very moment I walked into the shop Frank noticed me and said, “Hello Tom, hmm you’re fat...”. I hadn’t seen him or spoken with him for the best part of 14 years, and yet he remembered me. How amazing was that? Well what struck me most was his observation, it was indeed true, I had put quite a bit of weight on following now moribund medical advice.
Well, needless to say, I enrolled in his classes and the rest is history! I obtained my first Dan in Wado Ryu on the 2nd June 2003 under Sensei Dave Allsop, at Mansfield, and Nidan at Stratford under Senseis Tatsoi Suzuki, Fukuzawa, Wickes, Allsop, and Michaelides which was a very special moment in my karate journey. I have felt privileged to have trained with Senseis Kunaki Sakagami, and Peter May and have graded three times with them, now to Godan.
I have been the club Secretary since 2006 and have trained consistently with Sensei Frank Johnson who has been a great source of inspiration, a personal friend as well as a great teacher. I have had the privilege of knowing, and training with many great people, teachers of Wado Ryu and students and one abiding experience I draw from all of these is humility. I feel blessed to have been able to train with them, and to learn from them. There was a time, not very long ago, that I had thought all of this was beyond me but every journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step and continues with another......We are all on a journey, make every step count but also follow the source, keep your karate authentic and true to its roots.
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