Tuesday, 06 December 2016
A nursing student from the University of Worcester has recently returned from the Shito-Ryu Karate World Championships in Mexico, having bagged an impressive haul of three bronze medals.
Jennifer Goddard, age 25, from Clifton-Upon-Teme, near Tenbury Wells, has been training as a martial artist since the age of 11, and found she needed to draw on all her years of experience during the Championships.
“The arena was huge,” she said. “It was both exciting and nerve-racking to compete on such a big stage, but that’s where the years of experience make the difference.”
“To have come home with three bronze medals was amazing,” Jennifer added. “It has inspired me to train even harder. Standing on the podium receiving the medals is a feeling I’ll never forget.”
Often portrayed as a solitary, almost mystic sport, Jennifer is keen to emphasise the fellowship that exists within the team and between competitors. “It was brilliant to meet and compete against the elite Shito-Kai members from around the world, and there was an amazing feeling of camaraderie between all the competitors,” she explains. “I am in a kata team which I have really enjoyed, as winning something as a team is a great feeling. The whole Shito-Kai England team went out there and did really well. I love being part of a team as that’s what it’s all about.”
As a black belt 3rd Dan, Jennifer is a highly qualified student of her art, and, having chosen to retrain as a nurse at the University of Worcester, she is now making the grade as a student of a different kind.
“Originally I completed a nutrition degree at university and worked for a time as an NHS Dietetic Assistant, but I wanted to spend more time one to one with patients, and being able to help people on a daily basis attracted me to nursing,” she said. “I knew Worcester had state-of-the-art facilities, and I would like to work in the local area once I have finished my degree, so I thought it would be helpful to have my placements here too.”
Jennifer said balancing her karate and nursing training was sometimes a juggle. “It can be stressful at times as I have very little spare time,” she admits. “I have to prioritise my time wisely, but this is part of the normal discipline involved in being a martial artist.
“I hope to graduate with a good degree and then be able to find work locally. My eventual goal within nursing is to become a GP practice nurse. In karate I am aiming to continue competing at tournaments at this level and to take my 4th Dan examination. In the future I may consider teaching karate myself.”