Hi my name is Richard; I am a karate participant, club coach and national referee. I have voluntary roles with the Karate Union of Great Britain as the Southern Region Secretary, Disability Officer and Mental Health Charter Advocate. Sport is important to me as a vehicle to keep fit and promote good health, not only physically but also mentally. When I am training I am focusing 100% on the execution of techniques and exercises set, this helps me to park my mental health problems and take time out from the stresses of daily life. In turn it helps my concentration and memory and I come out of class more relaxed in both body and mind.
Winning the British Championships and being part of the National Squad seemed my biggest achievements at the time when I was competing in the 1980’s/1990’s.
However in 2011, two years after a serious accident, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME). Amidst the problems of exhaustion, poor concentration, short term memory loss, sleeping problems this led to low mood, anxiety and depression.
I had three major operations and each time the Medical Professionals told me that to improve I needed to follow a programme that included exercise, using activity pacing and emphasised the need for activities that reduced stress and tension alongside social activity.
Getting my health back through my Karate training is definitely my biggest achievement now.