Karate helped me give school bullies the chop
Teenager’s life transformed after taking up martial art
A TEENAGER from Ashford beat the bullies after finding confidence through karate.
And now Thomas Webb, 15, has been picked to represent his country at the sport.
Tom used to be a timid schoolboy who was scared of taking part in any sports.
He says this gave his peers at the Friars school, Ashford, an excuse to pick on him and make his life a misery.
But one day Tom discovered karate and his life was transformed as the martial art helped develop his selfconfidence.
Now a student at St Edmund’s School in Canterbury, Tom has won house colours for sport and has been picked for the national karate squad.
“From when I started junior school I was never any good at playing sport,” said Tom.
“I was scared of playing football or rugby and I couldn’t even play cricket because I was scared of the ball.
“People used to call me names and bully me and I used to get upset about it.”
Just more than three years ago, one of his friends started doing karate and Tom decided that it was something he was keen to try.
“I loved it to bits, it was great fun,” he said.
“I kept doing it and progressing through the grades.
“By the time I was in Year 8, I started getting really interested in things like rugby and before I knew it I was playing front row as a hooker for the rugby team.
“Instead of not wanting to play sports, I wanted to put myself up for it.”
Mother Louise Claydon, who has also taken up karate, said: “He’s gone from strength to strength as far as his confidence is concerned.”
She said that Friars school had been very good in dealing with the bullies, but that it was the karate that really made the difference.
Tom, who now holds a black belt and is sponsored by adidas, was picked for the England karate team in January.
He went to Slovenia two months ago and made it to the last five in the European Championships for his age group.
Tom is a member of SESKA, (South East Shotokan Karate Academy) based in Park Farm and has been coached by Geoff Luker.