Max Tremolada interviews Alan Bainbridge 7th Dan Karate Instructor ASKA Karate.

What and advice would you give somebody who gets really nervous before a fight or a grading?

 I suggest to think of it is just another ordinary class. It wouldn’t be natural if you weren’t nervous. Nerves can help with your adrenaline which can also be a good thing.   A lot of people sing songs to themselves or think of wonderful things they have done or places they have been. Doing so can completely take away your over thought process in competitions or gradings. Sometimes when your adrenaline is up, people can find themselves doing better.

What advice would you give someone when they get defeated or they don’t get the belt they thought they would?

Don’t worry about getting defeated as along the way you learnt something. You can’t win without losing first as it’s not the winning that counts it’s taking part. In a lot of sports like football – AFL, NRL, English football and other sports they have league ONE or some of the teams are at the top while others struggle at the bottom. If all the other teams stopped there wouldn’t be any of the top teams either.

What qualities does it take to become a black belt?

 A student or person going for a belt in karate or other martial arts are trying to move up the belt ranking system, unfortunately we have the Mc DoJo’s out there that are just for the money and give the belt away too easy. Money money money.

But does it really matter as it’s not the belt that counts, it’s only the students wearing it that counts. So a man or woman say at 75 years old start karate, does it matter if they stay a white belt all the time? They are just training of course.   They don’t worry about the colour of the belt holding their pants up and that’s how all students should think. It’s more important to train than any belt. You just have to keep trying and I should know, I failed my green belt and my first time of trying to get my black belt. So what I am doing right now still teaching and training after 47 years doing Shotokan? I am still learning.   A white belt hopefully gets to black belt and then the black belt turns white again – If you keep training – that’s what I’ve done and advise.

What qualities does it take to become a black belt and what’s the importance of a good instructor.

They need to be passionate and respectful towards the students. They need to carry out their daily teachings as a good role model needing to be patient for the students all to grow.

They need to have these attitudes of courtesy and loyalty.  They need to be honest and humble. They need to be constructive and strong whilst teaching, so the students benefit together. They need to make their students realise that they are in the class for a reason and it’s to learn not only for karate but their whole life.

You don’t necessarily need to be good at competitions or anything like that.

Someone who has a thorough proficient grounding in basic techniques of an art.