If you’ve ever fancied trying karate but never had the nerve then 2013 is the year to give it a go.
As part of the City of Culture celebrations, local Shotokan karate instructor Don Geddis is giving anyone who wants to try it out a free lesson.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ he said: “I thought it would a be a great way of giving something back, and what better time to encourage people to try karate than in the City of Culture year.”
A teacher for seven years, Don has a wealth of experience behind him, and he feels that everybody can give karate a go.
“Whether you’re five or fifty then you can try karate and you can come along to enhance your fitness or take it as far as competition level if you would like.
“I simply encourage members to take it as far as they wish.”
That obviously involves gaining the various grades, and the respective coloured belts. Don continued, “We would grade every four months so if someone wants to progress quickly the opportunities are there.”
In the meantime, Don takes classes in local schools to showcase the sport he is passionate about, as well as classes in the evenings and weekends.
When it comes to the younger members Don says he finds their progression really encouraging. “It’s great to see a child develop over the weeks and months, particularly if they’re quite shy to begin with. I’ve watched children arrive with their heads down, not making eye contact, and within six months they are more confident, more sure of themselves.
“I’ve also had parents say that karate has given their children a boost. And for many, karate becomes a family activity. There are fathers and mothers who come along with their kids, it’s like a bonding session.”
For the very young Don’s classes aren’t all about karate. He explains, “When they come to a school session, from age five up, the class isn’t just about karate, we do games at the end, so it’s not all serious!”
But the sport has got a disciplined side and Don believes that this controlled style is also good for kids and their confidence. “Gaining a grade can only come through training and hard work, so it gives the participants a real sense of achievement when they gain another belt.”
Don’s classes are £3 within a school setting, and £3.50 in the community setting. But for this year only, anyone who comes along to try a class gets the first class free.
His classes are held at the following venues and times: n Vale Centre, Greysteel on Wednesday from 6-7pm (beginners) and 7-8.30pm (all grades), and on Saturday from 12-1.30pm n Templemore Sports Complex on Thursday from 5.30-7pm n Glendermott Primary School, Ardmore, on Monday from 3-4.30pm and Thursday from 3-4.30pm n Donemana Primary School on Fridays from 5-6.30pm n Magilligan Community Centre on monday from 6-7pm.