Chief Instructor Michael Fletcher, 5th Dan
My name is Michael Fletcher…but Fletch is what I prefer to be called. I am 62 years young! I started my karate journey back in 1984 under the organisation called S.S.K.A. Within 2 years of consistent hard training and showing commitment towards my love of karate (of which training was at times 4-5 times a week) I opened up my first karate club (P.S.K.O.).
I started up my own karate club (P.S.K.O.) under the S.S.K.A in a little community hall in Leigh park (the Phoenix play group hall) I was a brown belt (3rd kyu) at the time. When the time came for me to take my black belt (1st dan) in 1987 I was running 6 clubs a week and also training myself 6 times a week including Saturdays and Sundays 3-4hrs per day. Once I had made it to black belt (1st dan)… it wasn’t long till the BBC (Black Belt Club) was formed with a very good and close friend called Mick Oxley.
My current grade is 5th Dan Black Belt which I was awarded in October 2016. This totally took me by great surprise and was extremely unexpected when I was called out in front of all ranking Dan grades, grading students and parents of all those grading on the day and received this honouree 5th Dan. I aim to Grade for my 6th Dan when eligible at age 65 in 2022 and everyone will be welcome to watch me Grade.
Instructor Samantha Lewington, 2nd Dan
I started my karate journey as a teenage girl in the 90s after witnessing my best friend at that time be viciously attacked by a group of girls in front of me. I had been selected to and was going to a senior school outside of the Council Estate area I lived and grew up in….. and although I had a good few friends there were some that always thought they were ‘better!’ Just because of where they lived or what they had etc…. I was an ‘outsider’.
I enjoyed and continued Training for many years in Sensei Fletch’s Dojo in Leigh-park Warren Park School throughout the whole of my teenage years. I was one of the clubs first girl students and the first girl to achieve black belt at age 18. The dojo was a safe place, a place of routine that never changed, a place I felt totally excepted in. Everyone is an equal training.
I left due to working opportunities and went on to achieve many things in many areas of my life. I returned many years later after the birth of my first son to the Park Community School dojo in Leigh park, and until this day the main dojo is and will always be in this area.
I train today as I fast approach my 40s with the same instructor Sensei Fletch under what is now the newly formed (May 2018) Park Shotokan Karate Organisation (P.S.K.O.) I train not only because of my Love and Passion for Karate. I train and now have started my instructing journey….. because of all the students, class after class, week after week… they remind me of Myself!! It is a privilege to be… even if just a small part, a part of their life’s journey. There is no greater honour than to bless the lives of others. I have been very blessed to have this too as a part of my life’s journey.