It all started back in 1969 in England when an uncle of mine, Adrian Smith, who was training at a club in Torbay England at the time, got my parents interest up. He talked about it all the time until my parents decided to go and train, of course once they started they were hooked. Even my grandmother started training. My father was not home very often as he was a long distance lorry driver so he trained when he could. To get extra lessons my uncle who was a 4th kyu at the time, would go to the local pub with my parents and grandmother where the owner let them train on his tiny dance floor on a Sunday afternoon.

Pretty soon I was allowed to train too. I had always been interested as I would watch my mother practice her kata's at home, and now at the age of 9, I was finally allowed to have a go. We continued to train at the pub and gradually a few locals took an interest too and asked if they could train

 By this time my uncle had joined the marines and my parents were teaching us. They were being graded by Sensei Andy Sherry.

Pretty soon we were too large to train on the tiny dance floor so we had to find somewhere else. In 1970 we moved to the B.R.S.A. club in Newton Abbot and called ourselves the Newton Abbot Shotokan Karate Club and had our first affiliation to the KUGB. My mother was now a green belt and Sensei Sherry who was now a third dan visited us every six months for a grading. There were no orange or red belts then just white until 7th kyu which was yellow and no kihon kata just Heian Shodan. The club just kept growing and growing.

 In 1972, my parents marriage were having problems. My mother threw herself into karate and my dad into his work. All the time the club was becoming more and more popular. In 1973 my mother opened another school in Totnes Devon, it too was very successful; so she then opened another in Teignmouth. My mother and father split up, so my father took the Teignmouth club and my mother carried on with the other two. 

 Pictured above my mother, then Maureen Fraser (with me  2nd from the right)

Ian Fraser and student Wain To

. Eventually she gave Totnes to one of her black belts Wain To and concentrated on Newton Abbot alone. In 1974 she was remarried.  Her husband was a natural karateka and soon passed my mother, in 1977 he got his shodan with Enoeda Sensei and became chief instructor. The club continued to become so large that we had to move several times until eventually we heard of a sports center to be built in Newton Abbot.. So my mother set the wheels in motion to get in it. In 1975 Dyrons Sports Center opened and we were permanent fixtures

Maureen and Al Cooke 1974 

Totnes demo team 1975 

 In 1977 a young man named Paul Moon began to train in our club in Newton Abbot, he did not know at the time that his occasional instructor would become his wife 8 years later. Also In 1977 my dad moved to the USA where his sister was living. He met an American lady, and they were married. That was the end of his karate career, he had started a new life and was very happy. In 1986 my sister decided to join him, taking her husband and young daughter with her. She settled in New Jersey and trained at Club Shotokan. By this time my husband and I had four children and in 1989 decided to follow my sister. In 1991 we returned home to sell our house but ended up staying as the housing market dropped. The karate club was still going strong and our children began to train. Later in 1991 my sister moved to Florida, and my mother and stepfather decided to join her leaving the club in our hands after 23 years. The club was still going strong, still producing new black belts and in 1994 we followed my mother to Florida where they had started a club with my sister in Englewood, leaving the club to one of our black belts Tim Crout.

Newton Abbot Karate Club. Paul Moon back right. 

Paul receiving his black belt from Sensei Sherry , England

Interclub winners and sponsors Dyrons, Newton Abbot England 1992 

Englewood club, Cooke Shotokan, Fl

We helped to run the Englewood club as it was full time but it didn't work out. My husband Paul and I moved to North Port and having ''withdrawal symptoms" from karate, opened a club in 1995. We started training once a week, the club grew quickly and we began to train more and more. Having been with the KUGB for  25 years at the time, we were able to qualify for an international affiliation with them.

 We are the only club in the USA affiliated to the KUGB and have regular courses with the top KUGB instructors. In 1997 our daughter Julie,  and son Martyn received their shodans with Sensei Sherry at the age of 11 and 12 . Our other two daughters Lisa and Haley recieved theirs the following year. Between them they hold 7 world titles from the JR world budo cup as well as other world titles including USSSA and too many district Regional, National and Jr Olympic medals to count.  North Port Shotokan continues to grow and hopefully will last as long as our English club did, if not longer. Our grandson Drew now trains, perhaps a Sensei in the making! He has since been joined by 2 of our granddaughters, the next generation is on the rise!!

Granddaughters Nyla and Kyleigh

Granddaughter Nyla Moon 4, National Kumite Champion 2014

Drew Moon9, double gold


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