William Glover, aged 14 from Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, has recently been selected into the England Karate squad.

William has been doing martial arts since he was five when his Dad first took him to a class.

William soon discovered he enjoyed Karate, so he joined a Shotokan Karate Club, based in Barrow. He achieved quite a few ‘belts’ (the belt ranking system) and received a good grounding of the basics there before he moved to a club in Haverhill, where he gained some competition experience and progressed to a first ‘black belt’.

But his Dad ideally wanted William to train somewhere closer to home, which is when they met Antonio (Tony) and joined the Bury St Edmunds Shotokan Karate Club, based at Abbeycroft’s Skyliner Sports Centre.

Tony saw William’s talent immediately and pushed him to reach the second level of Black Belt within a few months.

William thinks Tony is a great coach because he teaches so much discipline and respect, but he also pushes students to the next level, so he gets the very best out of people.

William said:
“I really love everything about Karate and I feel that Tony’s club is great for my development. The atmosphere is so positive and I also get to teach younger students which I enjoy because it’s actually very beneficial for me to keep covering the basics.”

“I was very excited to be selected into the England squad, but now the hard work starts. I’ll be attending and taking part in lots of competitions up and down the country as well as going to numerous England Karate Squad training sessions in Liverpool, where I have to complete a series of moves, called Kata, which is what I’m strongest at, but I also do free-fighting.”

“We’re constantly monitored and judged which is a bit scary, but it’s also very good for your confidence and self-esteem.”

William’s coach Tony who lives in Sudbury, but runs the club based at Skyliner in Bury St Edmunds commented:
“I’m very proud of William’s selection into the England squad – we all are!”
“He’s a joy to teach and the younger children really aspire to him as well, which is wonderful. “He has a lot of potential, he is strong and focused.”

“Karate is good for children’s development in many ways, both physically and mentally.”
“We see young children come here and their confidence just grows. They learn discipline and respect and this carries through into their everyday lives.”

Tony started the club in Sudbury originally, just before the pandemic and tried to keep it going online for a while, however, the benefits to students are far greater in person, so he relocated to Skyliner.

“It’s challenging for all small sports/activity clubs to keep running and we appreciate the commitment from parents, so having this standard of facility at Skyliner is a blessing.”

“Abbeycroft has been very accommodating and they believe in what we do so it’s easy to work with them.”

William’s Father, John, is a portrait artist and had been practising Karate on and off for many years before he introduced William to martial arts. They would practice outside in the garden when he was a little boy, doing all the basic moves and William soon became hooked.

John said:
“William achieved his first black belt when he was nine and his second aged thirteen, so he’s done tremendously well.”

“Like many parents with children who are committed to an activity or sport, I’ve been William’s taxi driver for many years, taking him from club to club and having to travel some distance, but it certainly isn’t a chore, I’ve been more than happy to support him and now we get to practice in the same sessions together which is great fun.”

“We are a disciplined family, I think. We believe in structure and Tony’s teaching style is very much about discipline, behaviour, respect and all those great qualities children thrive on.”

“My wife and I are super proud of William’s selection into the England squad which is a huge achievement, but we have a busy year ahead of us with lots of travelling, often to Liverpool, where he recently achieved fourth place in the Youth Karate Championships, which was his first time competing at that level.”

“I would recommend Karate to any parent, who is thinking of introducing it to their child/children, as they are sure to benefit from it in so many ways.”

Rebecca MacDonald, centre manager at Skyliner said:
“Congratulations to William for his recent selection – we’re so pleased to see him and Tony’s club doing so well.”
“Community sport and activity clubs are an important part of our organisation and we are always happy to work with them to offer local people the opportunity to lead healthier, more active lives.”

Tony’s club continues to go from strength to strength, with a small team travelling to Repton last month to enter the central championships for the first time and they returned with several medals, 5 bronze and 1 silver in Kata disciplines.

Find out more about Bury St Edmunds Shotokan Karate Club at https://www.buryshotokankarate.co.uk/.

William Glover
William, Tony and John Glover
William and coach Tony