Karate grandad is still a belter at the age of 72!
AGRANDFATHER could be the oldest martial arts instructor in Britain at the age of 72.
Pensioner Alf Burgoyne, from Macclesfield, has been learning and teaching karate for over the past four decades, and has now reached the rare rank of eight Dan black belt.
These days the grandfather of eight is more about poise and speed than impressive roundhouse kicks and punching through rows of tiles. But he’s still someone not to be messed with. Alf said: “When you’re up against these young guys they have a lot of energy and are trying lots of big moves. I just stand still and strike the finishing blow.”
Alf took up karate in 1973 when martial arts was all the rage thanks to stars like Bruce Lee.
Alf, of Lark Hall Close, said: “It looked like a fun way of keeping fit and I wanted to be a black belt. I didn’t mess around and got my first Dan in three years. I suppose I was a natural. I just wanted to keep progressing. It takes two years to study for your second Dan, three years for your third, and so on. Getting eight Dan is rare. People don’t tend to stick it out for that long but I love it.”
In 1977 Alf started his own club and by 1988 formed his own association of clubs, Swanda Karate One. But Alf’s success didn’t go down well with everyone. He recalls a time when the instructor at a rival club challenged him.
He said: “I believe in discipline and not using our skills outside the dojo. This guy turned up at the club when I was locking up. He had a bunch of students with him. He kept on at me and eventually called me chicken. I reluctantly agreed and could see he meant business the way he came at me. I took him down with one hit and told him he’d home.”
Now in his 40th year as an instructor Alf is preparing to hang up his nunchucks. He said: “I don’t feel 72 and still enjoy it, but I can’t keep this going for much longer.
“Interest in karate comes in cycles. There’s an influx, then a drain. These days kids would rather spend time on their games consoles and laptops, while adults are keen on selfdefence.”
Alf has plenty to keep himself busy with. The retired heating engineer is a volunteer ranger for the National Trust. Giving up karate will give him more time to spend with his wife Ann, who herself is a fourth dan black belt. better go
Karate instructor Alf Burgoyne has been awarded his eighth Dan black belt
Alf Burgoyne in his younger days