By Sam Saunders
Hi all, I’m Sam Saunders, the Treasurer of Cardiff University Karate Club. I’m currently a 2nd Kyu (that’s two belts below black) and I’ve been doing karate since I was around 6 or 7 years old. I’ve been at the club for three of the four years I’ve been studying at Cardiff and it’s been a blast; everyone is incredibly friendly, and we get a variety of new faces every year, whether that’s complete beginners or students who’ve done karate before.
It’s important to note that we don’t have any defined style of karate as a club and that our four student instructors all come from different backgrounds, so that everyone feels welcome. Having been formed in 1965, the club is one of the oldest in the UK, and our activities take the form of training sessions and socials. Training is on every Tuesday and Saturday in the SU, and we focus on Kion (basics), Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring) as well as some practical self-defence work.
Training in karate is worthwhile, as it teaches discipline, self-control and gives you a chance to switch off from the outside world, as well as improving fitness. Socially, we almost always head to the Taf for a drink after a training session, and we aim to organise a social every two weeks, as well as at least two non-alcoholic socials per term, such as cinema or bowling trips.
There is the chance for competing for the university at the club, as we take part in BUCS in Sheffield every February and Welsh Varsity in April, with further competition opportunities dependent on student interest.
Competitions are a huge part of what makes karate a rewarding experience, as you can test yourself against the best students from around the country, so there will be a focus on these in certain training sessions, as well as an emphasis on fitness. We have also attended Bunkai seminars held by Iain Abernathy, and are planning to attend another in March, and have successfully organised charity events such as our Pink Belt Session last semester, which raised money for Cancer Research UK.
As I mentioned at the start, we’re an extremely open club and we want to welcome as many new members as possible, including Erasmus and postgraduate students. We offer two different membership options: a standard club membership that costs £10 and allows you to train, and an option to buy a licence as well for an additional £10, which is obligatory if you want to compete for the club and the university.
For more information about the club, you can visit our page on the SU website, email us at [email protected] or like/message the Facebook page to keep up with some more regular updates. Your first session is free, so there’s an incentive to come along! I hope to see some more new faces soon.