Andy started training at the age of 13 after seeing a demonstration by the Aaisatsu Karate Club at his village fete in August 1981. Impressed with the speed and controlled power, combined with the discipline, he decided he had to learn what he had seen so enrolled with Sensei Jim Smith 5th Dan the very next week. There were clubs a lot closer to where he lived but the Aaisatsu, and especially Sensei Smith, had made such an impression that he made the 20 mile round trip 4 times a week, sometimes by bus, but mainly by push bike, for the next four years until moving to Chester.
Jim Smith started training in 1966 and founded the Aaisatsu Karate Club in 1970. His teaching methods, experience and caring manner hugely influenced Andy’s Karate and life in general and he continuously trained under him for 22 years until Jim’s untimely death in 2003.
Club gradings were nearly always held with Sensei Enoeda and Sensei Sherry and Andy was fortunate to take all his Kyu grades under these two world famous instructors. In 1985, Andy passed his Shodan under Sensei Enoeda and later that year attended Sensei’s course at Crystal Palace for the first time. The varied training under Japanese instructors combined with the special atmosphere the course generated was unlike anything he had experienced before. He did not miss a course for the next 18 years and sometimes attended twice a year. His fondest memory of Sensei Enoeda is during a trip he and Bill MacKenzie made to Japan to coincide with the world championships in 1996. Sensei made time in his busy schedule to join them for a meal and not only did he take them to one of the best restaurants in Tokyo but he paid for the meal as well! He had the knack of making you feel like his only student whilst being Sensei to thousands.
As a 6th Kyu Andy began his competition career after making selection for the Aaisatsu ‘C’ team (it was a lot tougher in those days!) and fought in his first team kumite event in the Northern Region Championships where the team was placed 3rd. In 1986 Andy joined the Northern Squad under the guidance of Sensei Bob Rhodes and attended every training session until the squad was disbanded in 1992. He is proud to have represented the team in international competition in Sardinia and Brussels as well as numerous events in this Country.
Andy has taught at the Aaisatsu since 1985 and continues to help run the club, furthering the teachings of Jim Smith and the KUGB.