Joseph Clifton, Para Karate – Review of 2023

By January 29, 2024 No Comments

Wow, what an exciting and busy year 2023 turned out to be.

My weekly training schedule now covers two 1:1 sessions with my coaches in Richmond and Maidstone respectively, together with my club training with Abel Karate, plus daily practice at home. National Para Squad training on top, takes me to Walsall once a month to train under my English Karate Federation National Para coach with my fellow Para Squad athletes.

Alongside this I’ve been training for belt gradings, achieving 2 belt grade jumps in 2023. I am proud to now be 3rd kyu and ever closer to my aim to be a black belt before too long. Competing as ever was an important focus, both for my personal development as well as to help raise the profile of Para Karate nationally and internationally. Although it’s still early days for me to compete internationally against established and experienced athletes, I was fortunate to be selected to represent England in March at the European Championship in Spain, then for GB in June at the Virtus Global Games in France. Although I wasn’t placed, the opportunity to gain experience at such a high level and to shape my training and development was incredible.

On the domestic front, I entered pretty much every competition with an eligible Para Karate category! Any time on the mat (tatami), is invaluable for developing my techniques and honing my individual katas. My competitions included the BKF International Open Championships, the Central England Open Championships, and the EKF E1 Series, to name but a few. I was placed in all my competitions, including gold at the Central England International Open Championship and the E1 Series.

2024 looks just as busy, with 2 domestic competitions scheduled for February already and many more planned throughout the year. On the international front, the hope is that my hard training and national competition success pays off, and that I’ll be in the frame for selection at the European Championships in Croatia in May. Watch this space!

Thank you as ever for the amazing support and sponsorship from the Dylan Howells Foundation, in helping me be the best I can be. Wishing everyone a fantastic 2024, full of all the greatest sporting opportunities and achievements possible.