Penny first started Shotokan Karate 20 years ago, back then she trained with KUGB and was lucky to have been taught by Alan Sherry and Frank Brennan. Unfortunately, life got in the way, at the time she was working as a HGV driver and found it increasingly difficult to attend class, so had to stop. She had achieved a green belt and was training for purple belt.
“Karate had always remained a big part of my heart, and some years later, after a major career change, I was lucky to discover Ippon Karate Academy training at my local gym”. That was 4 years ago and as it had been a long time since she had trained she decided to start from scratch again. Alongside her husband, David Wilkinson, who was also new to karate, she trained weekly pushing through the different levels, until October 2017 when she achieved 1st Dan (black belt).
“There are few things in life that make you feel overwhelmingly proud of yourself, my first was passing my HGV licence when I was 21, getting a Gold Medal in Kata 2016! But nothing really compared to the way I felt when I passed my 1st Dan. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be the proud owner of a Black belt in Karate, I still have to pinch myself now!!”
Sensei Jason Netherton had always been her guiding force, on days of doubt he picked her up and pushed her on, to the point where she believed in herself. “Karate has given me confidence and passion, as well as a good level of fitness and a group of friends who I call my karate family”. Since being at Ippon Penny has been privileged to train with some of the world’s best athletes such as Sensei Junior LeFevre, Michael Dasoul, Rebecca Ferrer and Christina Kavakopoulou .
Penny now teaches her own class at St Marys in Prestwich, she also helps with the disabled group in Oldham and is always available to anyone who is Deaf/HOH (She is qualified level 6 BSL Trainee Interpreter) Herself and her husband organise events such as bag packing and are part of the group for fund raising.