‘New beginnings’ Tooting Karate Dojo new home
By: Sensei Linda Marchant – IOGKF EGKA 6th Dan & Dojo Head instructor
The new Tooting Dojo is also the new home for the always popular Sensei Linda Marchant. A lot of hard work went into getting the new location up and running and with humility has given Sensei Linda a chance to reflect on her journey so far…
It has been a long time since I first arrived in London to train in Okinawan Goju Ryu, in fact it was in August 1984. I am now delighted that I have my own permanent dojo in London that is dedicated to training in Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-do.
The dojo spirit commenced on 6th June with a marathon cleaning session by myself and students Angela, Frankie, Nick and Matthew. Then every weekend and some week days during June and July there was a hive of activity from Tracey, Kerryn, Mathilde, Sarah, Ciara, Paddy, Steph, Nick, Petra and myself painting and decorating and then when I signed the lease on Friday 23rd July, Jason Roe , Maroulla and Andre could prepare to finish the dojo floor. The dojo had a wooden floor which needed sanding, the gaps filled and then the floor varnished. As the dojo itself is 12m by 8m this was quite a task (the sanding took 3 days even with the industrial machines) but it looks fantastic and is already great to train on.
It was quite overwhelming to start the first class on 3rd August, in view of my training journey and dreams, but I felt immediately at ease as soon as we started because of all the positive energy exuded by my students.
‘New Beginnings’ (or Arata na Hajimari) training was our official opening day and I was delighted that Sensei Ernie could be my first guest instructor and that other instructors and students could make it from London, Sheffield, Southampton, Bournemouth and Winchester.
My thanks to Sensei Ernie for such inspirational sessions and to Sensei’s Nigel, Andy, Felix, Ted, Chris, Andre and Daphne and their students for their support, participation and good wishes. I was so happy to be training with everyone who have been part of my Goju Ryu life. We had a small party afterwards with sushi and sake and Okinawan music. For some, it was their first taste of wasabi and sake and I think most enjoyed the experience!! I will treasure the Sheffield handmade Chi-ishi by Richard Dixon and the bonsai tree that is on order from my Students!
Hallam instructor Sensei Andy Barker presenting Chishi for the new Dojo
I am looking forward to being able to further my training and I will do my best to encourage my students to do the same. It is important to enjoy your training and be creative with your motivation so that everyone can live the Mind, Body, Spirit - that embodies Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do.
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita.