Courses at Ayrshire College

College martial artist is an inspiration to all

College martial artist is an inspiration to all

An Ayrshire College student who took up karate in order to stand up to school bullies has enjoyed a trophy-laden year.

18-year-old Amy Mitchell from Patna has earned remarkable success, considering she never intended to enter competitions when she started the sport.

Amy began karate classes nine years ago and became Student of the Year for the entire UK martial arts community in 2016.

A year ago she won a European Championships competition for 18-35 year olds when she was only 16, and also placed in the World Championships competition held in Poland.

There was a field of 700 people in her final 2017 competition, and she managed to place in that too.

Amy, who studies NC Advanced Sport and Fitness at the Skills Centre of Excellence in Irvine, said of her incredible results “I began at the same time as my sister but she dropped out after a couple of months and I got really into it. I really enjoyed it but I never saw myself getting to the stage I’m at now.

“I got bullied at school so started karate as a way to try to build up my confidence and stand up for myself. It started as a hobby and just grew from there.

“When I first started I was never going to do competitions, I saw it solely as something to build my confidence. However my club ran their own competition once and I thought I’d give it a bash. I figured if I didn’t like it then I didn’t like it, no harm done.

“It’s completely different to regular training. You feel proud of yourself just for standing on the mat. It’s a huge achievement. My club has a squad and I’m the captain and I need to make sure everyone’s safe at competitions. Even when my teammates don’t win you can see them smiling and enjoying it.”

Amy has shown tremendous strength of character throughout her time with Senjokai Karate Academy.

She said “When I was at school I wasn’t just verbally bullied - they would hit me from behind as well. It didn’t stop until I reacted. I just started getting more confident in myself, I felt I had something to stick up for.

“Also, last March my Mum was really ill; she was literally dying. Yet somehow I ended up winning two gold medals at a tournament. My mind was somewhere else but I still managed to focus.

“I put my success down to my Dad being so supportive. He works away so it’s hard, but whenever I have a competition coming up he always makes sure he’s home and can take me.

“My coach also pushes me. I think without him pushing me I wouldn’t be as far as I am, because there are some days I can’t be bothered but he keeps me going and teaches me everything to get me where I am now.

“I feel like the College helps with my karate as well. It gives me fit and healthy and motivated for competitions. I love it here.”

Now that Amy has turned 18, she plans to open her own karate club in Patna Games Hall. She feels it’s important to give the children of Patna and the surrounding areas something to do, as there isn’t much to keep them occupied.

Amy said “I think it’s a good idea to get children off the streets and teach them what I’ve learned. People might think a girl doing martial arts is strange, but in the last year it’s actually been the fastest growing sport for girls to take part in. I put that down to the fact that there’s always something fun happening, there’s never a boring time in martial arts.”

30 November 2017

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