Karate youngsters gear up for national team

    Tunbridge Wells Karate

    Nine members of a Tunbridge Wells-based karate club are getting ready to represent England against Europe’s best.

    The group – eight of whom are 15 or younger – have been selected for the national team in the Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF) European Championships held in Rotterdam, Holland in late September.

    They all learn their skills at CMA Karate, based in St Peter’s School, with classes also held in St Mark’s School and Wadhurst.

    The youngest representative is eight-year-old Dominic Savage from Tunbridge Wells, who was the British champion in the Kata category two years ago. This year he picked up a silver medal.

    Ticehurst’s Rafferty Knight, nine, who attends Sacred Heart School in Wadhurst, won a silver medal in this year’s national championships.

    His mother Laura said: “I can’t believe he is only nine years old yet he is going to Holland. He takes it so much in his stride. His school teachers say he is not cocky or showy about it at all, but karate does instill in people a sense that you do not have to show off.”

    Laura takes Rafferty training most nights and was rooting for her son in Alton, Hampshire, where he undertook three four-hour selection sessions on separate weekends to qualify for the national team.

    He currently has a brown and white stripe belt, which is two qualifi cations away from a coveted black belt.

    Laura added: “I have other children so it is hard to balance it but when you have a child coming out of school every night asking to go to karate training then you have to support him.”

    CMA was formed in 2009 by senior instructors Barry Lovett and Sarah Padget, who have more than 40 years’ teaching experience.

    Sarah said: “We teach five nights a week at different venues and most of the children attend three times a week.”

    The club is urging potential sponsors to come forward. Contact 01323 848677 / info@cmakarate.co.uk.

    The WIKF European Championships takes place between September 30 and October 2.