martial arts, shotokan karate, self defence

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  Black Belts

Darren Conroy - 1st Dan

I started attending karate classes down St. Mathew’s sports hall over 15 years ago. I obtained orange belt within the first 4 months of training but left due to other worldly priority commitments that seem to appear in your teenage years!

After an absence for about 10 years, I contacted Sensei Conroy (also my uncle) and enquired about re-training. He was pleased to have another one of the family taking interest in karate and invited me back down to the evening classes.

There I train continuously for about 2 to 3 years and was finally graded to 2nd Kyu. In the meantime, I had got married and decided to move to a small farm over 40 miles away from Leicester . All of a sudden my priorities changed yet again and the 1 hour travel to and from classes seemed quite daunting. I was all of a sudden, in karate hibernation!

After a while, I parted company with the wife and moved back to Leicester . Then I trained even harder in both evening classes and private one-to-one session with Sensei Conroy. I eventually obtained my black belt and can remember the grading day very vividly, only because I was nearly physically sick due the heat and exhaustion of a hot summer’s day.

I will never forget the people who helped me get there. Sensei Conroy, Sensei Gordon, Sensei Nagin, and all the other wonderful students that I’ve trained with other the years.

Not only have I made dear friends through karate but good allies as well. The amount of mutual respect shown in Sensei Conroy’s dojo is second to none. His professionalism and dedication to all students shines through on every session and his full-time commitment has inspired me to train even harder.

The one thing I can take from karate and put into the real world is ‘discipline’. Having the discipline to take instructions and process them internally (without question) is an obtainable skill. This skill is really handy when confronted by an awkward situation, whether a fight or an argument with a loved one or friend.

I am now continuing my training and working hard towards my 2nd Dan which I will hopefully earn within the next 2 years or so. I really enjoy the free fighting and advanced training methods that 1st Dan challenges you with.

I have also noticed a level of confidence, not arrogance, which has built up over the last few years. My main aim is to help other students achieve their goals and ambitions, just like Sensei Conroy helped me.