Mark Stringer - 3rd Dan

When did you get your black belt?

I got my black belt at the end of the summer course in August 2011

Who was your first instructor?

My first instructor was Andy Cornish at the Tattingstone Club, part of the Arena Academy

Why did you start training?

As, I believe, with a lot of late starters, like myself, it all began with children. I used to take my stepchildren to class, thought I’d “give it a go” and got hooked

Who inspires you?

I don’t know that anyone actually inspires me. Of course, I watch martial arts films and think “I wish I could do that” but ultimately I motivate myself to try to be the best I can be

What drives you to keep training?

There are lots more Dan grades to be achieved and lots more techniques to learn. I also enjoy helping the kyu grades and, I don’t know if this makes sense but, some people smoke, some people drink – I do Karate

What other sports do you do/have you done?

In the past I have played many sports e.g. football, tennis, squash, badminton, cricket, snooker and pool. I liked to try most sports and still do but the only other sport in which I currently participate is Ju Jitsu, in which I achieved my 1st Dan black belt last year

Who do you know that is still training from when you started?

Some of the people still training from when I began are Ben Cornish, Stef Doran, Beth Taylor and Emma Plumbley

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to start karate now?

You will need to be hard working, dedicated, self-motivated, willing to listen and accept that you will not be able to do everything in a week. The rewards will come

What age did you start karate?

I started Karate at the tender age of 46. (You are never too old)

What are your future goals & hopes?

My next goal is 2nd Dan in 2013

How often do you train?

On Tuesdays I train with Andy Cornish at Tattingstone, Wednesdays with Billy Brennan at Needham Market and Fridays & Sundays with Jan Strzelec at Harkstead and Tattingstone respectively

What challenges have you overcome?

At 25 years of age I achieved my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, I have done a parachute jump, scuba dived and flown an aeroplane

What is your favourite kick?

My favourite kick is turn heel kick (Pandae Kolchyo Chagi)

What is your favourite hyung / kata?

My favourite Kata is Palgue Chil Jang

What is your favourite fighting move or technique?

My favourite fighting technique is snap punch, reverse punch, round kick off the back leg

What is your top tip for others?

My top tip has to be train hard, grade easy

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Be confident, believe in yourself and always do your very best in whatever you do