Sensei Brad Beeden
I first became interested in martial arts when I was in school, I think it was in the 3rd year around 1977.
At the time there was a Shotokan karate club operating in the main hall after school. I visited the karate club and stayed for about 15 years, training in various locations, ending up at the Basingstoke Sports Centre.
I graded under the great Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda & Sensei Tomita reaching Shodan. In those days the training & grading were very physical.
My training instructors were Dave Graham 5th Dan, Barry Pickering 4th Dan and Phil Reed 6th Dan, who was the former England Savate coach (Full contact French Martial Art).
I first met Sensei Derek Eastman back in 1997, when I noticed Aikido in the Basingstoke Sports centre. I followed some students into the Dojo and sat and watched.
Sensei Eastman said, “Want to come on?“ I hesitated at first, then took my first steps onto the mat. I thought this is nice and soft. How wrong was I! Sensei said “Have you done any martial arts before?” I said only Karate. "Good, good," was his reply, then he said, “Come in and punch me in the stomach.” I was pretty quick and I hit him hard in the centre which rocked him back with shock.
Sensei said, “Not bad, but this time come in again harder.“ This time he moved and before I knew what was happening I was thrown with Iriminage. I really tried to hit him, as I thought this old man should not be able to use me as a rag doll. Since that day I was hooked. I started training that week with Sensei Eastman & Sensei Lyon and have never looked back. I still laugh to this day as he still applies the same instructions to new students just starting out, even now.