Karate helped me give school bul­lies the chop

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Clare Mul­grew

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.

Thomas Webb

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.