Louisa Annison – Nidan

  • Yellow belt (8th Kyu) in October 2002.
  • Orange belt (7th Kyu) in April 2003
  • Green belt (6th Kyu) in August 2003
  • Blue belt (5th Kyu) in December 2003
  • Purple belt (4th Kyu) in April 2004
  • Brown belt (3rd Kyu) in October 2004
  • Brown belt (2nd Kyu) in May 2005
  • Brown belt (1st Kyu) in November 2005
  • Black belt (1st Dan) in June 2007
  • Black belt (2nd Dan) in September 2016
  • In 2005 Student of the Year

I started karate in July 2002. I saw an advertisement of the club in a newspaper and my mother said if I wanted to go she would give it a go with me. We started in a beginner group which included another three women ranging between 18 and 60. The movements came fairly easily to me as I had a ballet dancer/baton twirler background. This is probably why I enjoy kata so much. I love standing in the line and going through basics. This is a chance for me to reanalyse what I do and strive to be better. I don’t like kumite. Partly because I always get partnered against someone a lot bigger than me and partly because if I was to get in a fight I wouldn’t try to score points I would aim for areas that are considered out of bounds. I’ve grown to like partner and pad work possibly because something clicked, the old lightbulb turning on situation. Move and strike, don’t try to block every time because it might not be necessary.

When I started and watched the other higher grades I thought that purple belt would be the level I would aim for. Brown belt would be out of my reach. When I reached purple belt it felt natural to progress to brown belt. I would be happy with brown belt. It helped that I trained alongside three other females who all gained their 3rd Kyu brown belt with me. There was no way I was going to make black belt. But when I was at the highest brown belt grade my Sensei asked if I would like to do the black belt grading. My initial reaction was no chance. I was handed the syllabus and reading through it I thought maybe I could become a black belt. I had nothing to lose really.

The first time I attempted my black belt grading I was awarded some cracked ribs while holding a pad for a fellow brown belt also grading for her black belt. I tried to continue but I could not perform my beloved kata properly. I attempted the black belt grading again six months later and succeeded.

So I was happy as I made it to black belt. No more gradings left for me as this was it. I took time out in 2009 and 2010 to have my baby girl. When I resumed I felt like a beginner but the skills I had acquired quickly returned. I was content in practising the basics with the new students. My techniques became sharper and faster. I concentrated on improving my Katas. The new students progressed to brown belts and then they were ready to attempt the black belt grading. I was asked would I like to try for Nidan? My initial reaction was of course not. But then I got to thinking…maybe I could. We were given the syllabus and I practised as much as I could and passed.

After my grading and a chat with the others that also graded I decided that I wanted to specialise in Kata. I have always enjoyed this aspect of karate and without it I probably would not have progressed to brown belt. I don’t think I will ever forget when Sensei Ziggy asked everyone what their best and worst parts of their grading were and Sensei Stacy said the best part of his grading  was watching my katas!

I have started to teach myself other Katas from the internet and try to focus on the bunkai of all the katas I have learnt in the past. If Kata is my favourite part of karate the bunkai has to be one of my worst. To focus on the bunkai should improve my understanding. My problem is that I want to continue to learn new katas but I must concentrate on getting one kata perfected at a time!