Dad took me to the local karate club when I was six and I guess it went the same way as with signing kids up to a new activity with all parents: ‘we’ll just wait and see how long it lasts’. It was something that I enjoyed so a few years later I had achieved my green belt and my younger sisters started training. Since the junior coloured belt class was immediately after the junior white belt class on a Saturday morning, I had to go early while they trained, so rather than waiting around doing nothing, the instructor got me to take the warm ups and assist with instructing the class.
Since it had become a bit of a family thing and we were quite involved in the social side of the club, Mum decided to give it a go as well. I started going to the adult white belt class with her, which just provided me with some extra training. One night the instructor for that class didn’t show. Being the highest rank in attendance, I took the class. Thinking on it now, I must have shown a high level of professionalism for a kid my age for the adults to willing accept me as an instructor for their class!
There lies the beginnings of my experience as a trainer within the fitness industry! A few years on from that and I was instructing the adult white belt classes on a Mon and Wed nights, the adult coloured belt classes Tue and Thurs nights and the junior white and coloured belt classes on a Sat morning. I had my own training sessions with my instructor on a Fri night. I guess it was a good way to keep a young girl about to enter her teens out of trouble!
When I was thirteen, we moved to a cattle station, so the maintenance of my karate training was only what I put into it. We were still in contact with my instructor and I did continue. Some of the other kids on the station took an interest and wanted to learn. So I started up a class, complete with uniforms! My instructor had agreed to oversee the training, so we were affiliated with the club I had spent many years with. My instructor visited especially for us to hold a grading so that my students could progress through the ranks, so it was all quite official.
It was quite an achievement, and set the stage for me to be quite comfortable training others and sharing my knowledge fitness activities.