Never too old to be a black belt
MARTIAL arts enthusiast Dennis McGeachie is proudly sporting his black belt for karate – at the ripe "old age" of 39.For Dennis the award has come after years of hard work and devotion to his hobby, and is a milestone he thought he might never reach.
By Richard Cornwell
By RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
MARTIAL arts enthusiast Dennis McGeachie is proudly sporting his black belt for karate – at the ripe "old age" of 39.
For Dennis the award has come after years of hard work and devotion to his hobby, and is a milestone he thought he might never reach.
"I am 39 now and while that might not seem that old, most of the black belts I see these days are very young athletic kids and teenagers!" said Dennis, a civilian instructor at Hollesley Bay prison.
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"But I am delighted to have got the black belt. I have put a lot of hard work in over the years and I really love karate.
"I decided last Christmas to really step up and work harder and I have done a lot of extra training since. While it has always been physically hard, I have also developed my mental determination, too."
Dennis, who lives with his wife Pamela and their sons Andrew, 12, and Nathan, nine, in Seaton Road, Felixstowe, joined Felixstowe Karate Club when the family moved to Suffolk from Nottinghamshire seven years ago.
Before that he had been involved in various martial arts, including tae kwon do and jujitsu, from which he was allowed to keep his green belt when he began karate training.
He loves physical challenges – having completed the three peaks challenge, and also cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats – but said achieving his black belt was the hardest goal of all.
Dennis, whose son Nathan is already a second brown belt and achieved a distinction in his exam, also enjoys passing on his experience to the younger club members and seeing their enjoyment and enthusiasm develop.
Club instructor Paul Mortimore said Dennis was the twelfth member to attain a black belt and everyone was delighted for him.