martial arts, shotokan karate, self defence

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  Black Belts

David Gask - 4th Dan

Lesson one, 26th July 1976, saw my introduction to Shotokan Karate, joining the ranks of ‘the Juniors’ under the direction of Sensei Ted Simpson (1st Dan).  As a somewhat ‘shorter-than-average’ thirteen-year old, my motivation stemmed from a desire to gain the ‘psychological’ high-ground and to build self-confidence, not to mention developing a new skill and physical strength.  Ted provided great inspiration. His teaching, guidance, enthusiasm and attention to detail afforded an ideal platform from which to develop the basics quickly with ‘double grades’ achieved under Sensei Enoeda, from beginner to 8th Kyu, and from 7th Kyu to 5th Kyu.  An early introduction to ‘the Seniors’ then followed, with classes under the direction of Sensei Tony Conroy (2nd Dan).

Training progressed over the next three years, with many notable ‘guest’ Senseis along the way (including K. Enoeda, M.Kawasoe, H.Tomita, A.Sherry, S.Cattle, T.O’Neil, R.Poynton) culminating in achieving Shodan (1st Dan) under the late Sensei Enoeda in September 1980.

Undoubtedly, however, the greatest influence over the years has been my mentor, Sensei Tony Conroy (7th Dan), who continues to inspire, motivate, and demand ever-higher levels of personal achievement. Through Tony’s constant ‘eye-for-detail’, rigorous training methods, and incomparable skill & aptitude - along with his willingness to share ‘knowledge without reservation’ – this has provided an underlying strength to me, and to the Club, wherever his Dojo may be situated…

Having returned to my training after a break of many years (through business commitments) I can now vouch for this “continuity of excellence”.  It has made lighter work of ‘picking-up’ from where I had left off.  And, with the attainment of Nidan (2nd Dan) in September 2002, some 22 years since my last grading, achieving a grade surpassing my former ability is testament to his unwavering encouragement and support.

I now remain focused, and with the attainment of Sandan (3rd Dan) in September 2005, it bears this out.  More importantly, I continue to share a passion with like-minded people.