Karate veteran makes the grade at 7th Dan

Martin, centre, displays his certificate, with Douglas Fowler (extreme right).
Martin, centre, displays his certificate, with Douglas Fowler (extreme right).

Five decades of dedication to the martial arts have been rewarded for the boss of the Borders Karate Federation.

Martin Brownlee was awarded the grade of 7th Dan last Saturday by his best friend, instructor and Federation colleague, Douglas Fowler.

“It means an awful lot to me – it’s a recognition of my dedication to a sport I’ve loved for nearly 42 years,” said Martin.

“I took up karate in June 1976 as a 13-year-old after watching a demonstration in Galashiels Academy during a break in the Border Karate Championship,” he recalled. “From that point on, I was hooked.” Martin, from Galashiels, joined the local club three months later and , in 1983, he met Douglas Fowler, who prepared him for his 1st Dan grading two years later.

“That’s when I took up teaching full-time and it’s been my career ever since,” said Martin. He graded to 2nd Dan in 1987 and rose to 6th Dan by 2008, before last week’s step up. “I was with the Scottish Karate Federation for 25 years and the Scottish Borders Federation since 2001, teaching classes all over the Scottish Borders,” he added.

“Over my career, I’ve trained with some of the best Scotland has to offer – the great Hamish Adam, Colin Clapperton (both 8th Dan), Shingho Oghami 7th Dan, and ex-world champion Jim Collins, to name a few.” Of Douglas Fowler, he said: “I wouldn’t be in this position without him.” Martin added: “I still train every day and still enjoy what I do immensely. Our Federation will continue to teach over the Border region and all are welcome to come along to give karate a go.”