Sama Organisation Burgess Hill
& Haywards Heath
I started my Sama Karate life in 1989 aged 9, when the local karate club that my school friends trained with started a new class at my school, Downsbrook Primary School Worthing. From day one I was taught by Shihan and Yondan at my school classes, I soon progressed through my early belts with Shihan telling my mother that I was exceptional (though I'm sure he was mistaking me for someone else) I began to train in Shihan's evening classes where I was taught by a number of the senior sempais at the time (now senseis) as well as Shihan himself.
I achieved my brown belt aged 11. Unfortunately I was suffering will asthma at the time and blackouts and decided to stop training for a while until my health improved and I had settled in to high school. Soon after this I decided I would explore martial arts as a whole and began reading about other styles, I began training in kubodo, which is traditional okinawan weaponry. Iaido which is traditional japanese sword drawing techniques and Krav Maga which is an Israeli martial art used by their elite special forces for self defence against unarmed and armed attackers, including those armed with firearms.
I returned to SAMA aged 16 as a brown belt, with in a week of returning Shihan asked me to grade for 2nd brown which I did and passed. I began training as often as I could, attending both adult only and mixed classes mondays, tuesdays, thursdays and fridays, I would have been doing wednesdays as well but I didn't have a way to get to the classes, saturday mornings I spent with a very good friend of mine, Sempai (now Sensei) Robbie attending his adults kata class and Sunday's I was still training in kobodo. 6 months after returning I achieved my 1st Kyu and my training increased to 9 lessons a week as I began kickboxing to help increase my fitness ready to grade for black belt. 12 months and 3 days after returning to SAMA I achieved my Black Belt 1st Dan on 4th April 1997. While I had been doing my own training for black belt I started to help Renshi Klus in his classes and he began to train me as an instructor.
I was given the responsibility of teaching in my own area in January 1999 at aged 18, I was the youngest ever black belt to be given an area to run. I continued training hard in both karate and kobodo.
In the year 2000 I was given the privilege of having private one on one lessons with Shihan every Friday morning, where he taught me many lessons in both karate and life.This soon lead to me being able to achieve 2nd Dan Black Belt 2nd October 2002.
Achieved 3rd Dan on Sunday 8th September 2013
Through out this time I have helped my own students achieve their grades and am always proud to see people I have taught obtain black belt.
My own personal training has continued and I have specialised in self defence and the use of and defence against weapons both traditional and modern. I love nothing more than being surrounded by my fellow black belts as they try to attack me with different weapons and I get the chance to put all the things I've learnt over the years in to practice. I am also very lucky that my good friend Sempai Sonic, who teaches in my area as one of the finest instructors in the club is also my training partner and he always keeps me on my toes never letting me slack off and always pushes me to do my best every week when we train.
I started my Sama life at aged just 5 in 1991. I loved it, from the moment I started i idolised Shihan and wanted to be just like him. I remember my first lesson i had Sempai Mike, he was hard core!! it was all or nothing with him. I think it set the presedent for me. my next real memory was having shihan teaching me at blue belt, that particular lesson was the first time i managed to make him seem impressed with me. (Still waiting for that to happen again!) That very same lesson the sonic was born!!!
In the years leading up to Black belt i made many friends, had many great lessons and took part in lots demonstrations compo's, carnivals and torch light processions. I managed to take all my grades on time and even managed to get 4 first passes from 4th kyu right through to black belt first dan. SO KIDS I KNOW IT CAN BE DONE!!
15th 0ct 1995 was the date of my 1st Dan grading which im proud to say i passed first time aged just 9, with my mum Sempai Wendy Langley (2nd Dan) and about one year later we where joined by my brother Sempai David Langley. (1st Dan)As soon as i passed my black belt i went straight into kickboxing worked my way through the belts on time and became Sama's youngest kickboxing black belt aged just 13 on the 22 August 1999. The kickboxing greatly improved my sparring ability because of course it was full contact, but mainly my power and timing, through all the pad work and shadow boxing.
Once i had achieved my black belt in karate Sensei May gave me the oppertunity to come and teach as one of her helpers. I loved it, i was teaching the full lesson's and it gave me the oppertunity to earn some pennys! As my experience in teaching grew i was lucky enough to work for many of the Sempai's and Sensei's. Once i had hit 16 years old i was given the honour of teaching alongside Yondan and Shihan. This then lead to being Grading Manager for Shihan and eventually running my own classes in woking under Sensei Hayes.
Because of teaching experienece my abilitys in karate grew, you have to know what your teaching inside out and back to front to be able to deal with every question and every person or person's you teach. I also have a policy where i would never ask or expect anyone to do anything i can't! Aged 16 i was honoured to recieve private lesson's from Shihan himself as well as having the oppertunity of training with the like's of Sensei Shapcott (Beast) who's been a roll model for all the instructors.
On the 4th of march 2006 Sama held the AKBA British Championships. I was facing Jody Powell a good kickboxer who had a lot more ring experience then i did at the time. Its was an exciting fight. I won the AKBA BRITISH WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP on a points decision. That was a good night!
I had quite a long lay off between then and my next fight, through people pulling out on the day and there being no one to fight. On my next fight i was suppose to fighting for the middleweight british championship as there was no one in my weight class. Unfortunalty due to illness my usual training leading up to the fight was minimal, but i decided to fight anyway as i had nothing to lose, the fight was for the middleweight title not mine so why not! On the day Darren Dennis (my opponent) had managed to just sneak his way into my weight class, so instaed of cancelling the fight the promoters decided to put both titles on the line. At that point i should have pulled out, but not wanting to let down the crowd i decided to fight anyway. I made a good start and very nearly knocked Darren out first round with a spinning side kick to the face followed by a flurry of punches. But after about the 2nd round i was all out of steam. for the next 3 rounds i was not much more than a punching bag. The fight went the distance and unfortunatly Darren won by points decision. We got fight of the night for our performance.
That fight was a huge learning curve for me. I went to the doctors 2 days after the fight and was prescribed antibiotics for a a chest infection. I should have been more selfish and not got in the ring that night, but in some ways im glad i did. During the fight after i had run out of steam, through every punch i took not at any point did it enter my head that he could beat me down not for one moment. I watched that dvd and although it was the worst punch i have ever thrown i threw that last punch. I truly believe that my up bringing through sama taught me to never surrender and to show the heart of a champion.
On the 7th of December 2008 i was honoured to recieve my 2nd Dan Black belt from Hanshi and Shihan.
I am now very glad to be teaching with my good friend Sempai Dobson and am very much looking forward to the future.
I train every week consistantly to better my self and my art, because for me being a martial artist isn't something i do, it's what i am.
I started with SAMA in 1999, aged 10 at after school classes where I was taught by Sempai Ben Dobson who was then aged 19. By the time I left Primary School in 2000, I had attained my 2nd Orange belt.
From there I continued with evening lessons while I was at Secondary School and got my brown belt when I was 14 in 2002. It was also around this time that I left SAMA to focus on my GCSEs.
When I left School I then went to College to do my A levels and then started at Reading University reading German and Italian. I was there for a term before I decided that it wasn’t for me – I felt as though my decision to go to University had been rushed and a little as though my teachers had pushed me into going and so I came home again, whereupon my parents promptly told me I had to get a job!
After I had spent a couple of months at work, I decided that sitting in an office all day and going home to eat dinner and sit and watch TV was not a particularly healthy way to live and drove down to Southway school where Sempai Dobson was still teaching classes to ask if it was ok for me to start training again.
So, after a 6 year break I picked up where I left off at brown belt. It was slow going at first, but I was glad that I could remember most of what I had learnt before, but there was a bit of ‘re-learning’ to do before I was ready to grade!
I eventually graded for my 2nd brown belt in 2009 followed by 1st Kyu in October 2010. While I was training for my black belt, I started helping at Sempai Sonic’s Thursday class at Birchwood Grove and his Saturday morning class as well as helping out at Gradings for white to 2nd blue belts. Unfortunately, confidence has always been an issue for me and I found that helping in Sempai’s class has helped increase my confidence, both in my ability and myself. Through helping in these classes I also started working towards becoming an instructor because I found that I enjoyed helping kids learn and was always happy to help out my fellow classmates when they needed help with learning or remembering their Kata.
On 2nd October 2011, I passed my Black Belt Grading, which to date is one of my proudest achievements and this was closely followed by being awarded my Instructor’s badges in March 2012.
I continue to train every week under the watchful eye of both Sensei Dobson and Sempai Sonic, without whose guidance and belief in me and my ability, I could not have achieved half of what I have in the last two to three years.