Karate grandad is still a bel­ter at the age of 72!

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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

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