62. Wax on, Wax off.


me left, yes I used to be able to kick that high!

It’s not until you start writing these things down that you start to realise how much you have done in your lifetime. I’ve packed quiet a bit in to my forty something years. And whats scary is, there is so much more to write about!

From the late 1980s to the mid 1990s I met a man who really changed my life. His name is Mac Robertson. Mac not just changed my life, he has changed a lot of people’s lives over more years than he probably wouldn’t want to count.

Mac Robertson is a Karate instructor who teaches in my home town of Bury St.Edmunds. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should really mention how and why I ended up at his dojo. 


me punching a block of something that shouldn’t be punched!

I have always loved a good action flick and when the Karate Kid came out I thought it was great. I wanted to do all that karate stuff! But I put it off. It wasn’t until I worked with a guy named Colin Streeter that I finally plucked up the courage to go. What persuaded me is that one day at work Colin got beaten up by a shoplifter and I thought, “oh hell no, that’s not happening to me.” Colin was none too pleased about it happening again so off we trotted to the first Karate school we could find.

Bury St.Edmunds Clicker Team. Colin, Steve, Russell, me

Bury St.Edmunds Kyokushinkai Karate Club is and always has been a place that turned out strong disciplined students. Colin and I were not strong or disciplined but we were ready to be students. Were we ready for Karate? most certainly not. But then Karate was not ready for us either!

We trained hard. we trained really hard! If there was a bead of sweat on our brows there was never any point is wiping it away as there would just be more there in a few seconds. As our training grew and we got more involved I came to the conclusion that all the movies I loved were just lame. I could kick Daniels ass! I wouldn’t though. I pride myself in the fact that I have never been in a street fight. I prefer to talk my way out of a fight, normally its far more entertaining!

A sign warning us what we are going to do is not advisable!

Karate allowed me to travel to the most exotic places of the U.K.  Llantrisant, Wales. (the hole with a mint in it), Perth, Scotland. Nottingham, England. (your roads system sucks) Leicester, England, (your football team sucks) Crystal Palace, London, England. (meh)

Oh the glamour.

The skinny youth that was me! OK I’m still skinny!

One of the most fun things I did was Waterfall training. Colin, Steve List and I, each January would get up before the sun and drive in my crappy Ford Fiesta down the mountains of  South Wales, stand under a freezing cold waterfall, go drink in a pub the still sells Double Diamond beer, and then home. Fifteen hours well spent. The best bit each year was watching Colin hit his head on a rock, or Steve trying to pick up one of the Welsh girls! People often asked me why I would do such a thing. The answer I often give is, “why not?” It seemed like a good idea at the time. Much the same as the people of Michigan run off and do the polar bear swim in freezing cold Lake Michigan, standing under a waterfall is a test of ones mind over matter. A I’ve survived mentality. Was it fun, yes. Would I do it again, probably. Was it worth it, you betcha!

A trophy that I won!

I entered tournaments, and did quiet well, in both semi-contact (clicker) and full contact (knockdown). I even taught the pee-wee class which is where I started out my love of youth coaching! I came oh so close to making the England team. But what I loved the most was the feeling training gave me. When Sensei Robertson (as he was then) would put us through our paces, he would take us to the edge, throw us over, drag us back up and throw us over the edge again. Every session I would be thinking, “why the hell am I doing this?” And when the session ended I would remember why. That feeling of “I did it!” I would train hard, and Colin would try to out do me, so I would have to out do him. I think this made the rest of the class work harder, and we often heard groans from people when it came to sit ups! I could do sit ups for hours. I had a real six-pack!  No one could beat me at sit ups, they came, they tried, they failed!

Shihan Mac Robertson

Shihan Robertson (as he is now) Still teaches in Bury St.Edmunds and you should check them out if you want a great work out. You will also get some great life lessons. Mac Robertson although he didn’t know it at the time was a great father figure for me. I’d lost my father in 81 as regular readers will know. Mac taught me how to carry myself with respect and honour. He tested my spirit three or four times a week, and created a solid young man. It was because of that concrete foundation he gave me that I had the courage to try out for the Parachute Regt. in the British Army.

A big thank you Mac, or should I just say Osu!

Published by David

Guide, Traveller, Mentor, Writer, Depression Free!

6 thoughts on “62. Wax on, Wax off.

  1. Really enjoyed this post! I too was inspired by Mac.I enjoyed many a class with him in the early 80’s but will have to admit to my “prizes” at the time being the opitunity to spa with my brother and some of our friends,without having our parents get on at us for fighting, then the trip to the pub when we had completed the hour or so in that hot smelly Dojo above the garage.!
    I never became even medeoka at the sport but i did learn ternasity and endurance which have sustained me in my adult life. ( working as a ED nurse and as the single parent of four rambunctious young sons)The pain of running barefoot on the streets and the what seemed to be endless squats, will carry me passed my daily challenges. Dispite never making it to the lofty ranks I will be forever thankfull to Mac Robertson for teaching me more than just the katas, stance etc. but also the mental capasity to endure what ever comes my way. My sons now take karate and weather they eventually make the team or not, I hope the they will at least learn a few of the lesons I did.
    I look forward to reading your posts in the future, it may jog a few of thoes memories that have become lost over the years due to age, the odd beer, miss guided kick the the head but most likely a combination of all three !
    Ps . Today you inspired me! I have been thinking about blogging – to both Mac and you, Thank you Osu!

    1. Hey Linda, thanks for the comment. Mac is one of a kind. Just sad I didn’t get to catch up with him last time I was in the UK.
      BTW how did you find my blog? Just curious.

      1. Mac is one of my facebook friends along with Steve List ( we worked together at the sports centre on and off for several year) Steve was apparently quite chuffed to be mentioned in the blog , I have been doing a bit a research on blogging since I am thinking of doing one myself so I checked it out . I have had quite a chuckle at yours, it has jogged a few memories (streets and pub names frequently allude me) my Mum & brother occasionally bump into Mac and give me an update, I don’t recall when I last saw him it has been at least 9 years since I was last in England ! Keep on blogging – oh yes and maybe it’s time to get the parsley incident off you chest ?

  2. Read the blog – in the name on research.1) for my anticipated blogging career 2) I have four boys to include 2 scouts a cub & a-tag-along any insight is helpful ? 3) truth is your blog has been quite amusing (will refrain from calling it a waste of too much of my time) – I will be forwarding your link to my brother today.
    My father was a boy scout leader, my brother a cub, and our family would visit the camp on Harwick Heath it maybe my imagination but I almost remember hearing about the head injury event. I also enjoyed the blog about “Look In” – I had it delivered weeky the gifts & posters were VERY cool – it may have been part reason I took a paper route ( to retrieve my gift from the bottom of the bag to where they frequently fell ! )

Like it? Don't like it? Just let me know you were here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: