Amy Connell – European Karate Bronze Medalist, sights set on Tokyo 2021

This Karate Blog is from our latest Podcast and is part 1 of 6

Amy Connell is one of Britain’s top fighters. She is a WKF European Bronze Medalist in Kumite, and represented Team GB at the European Games in Minsk. She now has her sights set on Tokyo 2021.

I’m really interested in your story. Could you just tell us a little bit about how karate started for you initially?

Yeah, so I started it’s pretty much been in my family since I grew up so my dad teaches karate and I literally from age three started to go along to his classes my big sister was a little bit older she was competing karate as well I basically just fell in love with it from a young age. Started really young and just kind of found my passion with it. 

What were the most important experiences or events that lead you to becoming a fighter obviously karate has got more than the fighting aspect. But this is what you’re known for. 

Yeah, thats true because my sister actually she competed in the other discipline which is kata and for me I just always loved fighting. So I don’t think I was always the little sister that was a bit more out there and I fell in love like I used to always watch fighting I just thought it was such a exciting sport to do I watched my sister compete for Scotland as well so I have seen her competing for karate and I just loved the entire sport.

I know a lot of kids in my own academy like the idea of fighting but then they get punched in the face that kind of makes them reassess it but that wasn’t something that happened for you?

No I think because I probably started really young so I think you kind of get used to it because now you don’t even think twice about getting hit in the face it’s just kind of part of training and part of competing, so I can say that I have not been there, maybe when I was really young if you ask my coaches they might disagree, maybe I was like that but you kind of grew out of it I suppose when you are training a lot, you get used to getting hit.

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Looking back was there a point when you realised you are going to really commit yourself to karate as opposed to just as a hobby? 

So for me, I think I started competing like most kids when I was seven or eight years old and then I went to a competition in Japan actually when I was relatively still young and I did really well there. I remember just thinking I like traveling the world, competing, and doing what you love and that was really it for me. That was I think when I spoke to my coaches as well. They just said they knew that at that moment – you just love that arena, you loved competing and just doing your sport. So that was, I may have been 11 or 12 then and that was probably when I just knew.

How have your goals changed over time? 

I think like most athletes they grow as you become a better athlete because you’ve achieved one goal and you set another goal they build up. So for me I think i’ve always had high aspirations and it’s been amazing just ticking the things off along the way, so for me it was obviously, it started off winning the Scottish,  then the British and then Internationals, Europeans, Worlds and then the most important one that we just got given, the exciting opportunity to go for, which was Olympics which is just every kid’s dream! My goals and aspirations have always just built up and for me as Worlds and Europeans are still the ultimate in karate and the Olympics is just an extra amazing opportunity  that we have a one off chance for going for. 

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