Carlo's delighted with family double in Black Belt status!

Carlo in actionGian-Carlo Favorido is understandably delighted that at 51 years of age he has recently received his Black Belt First Dan in karate at the Pembroke Dock Karate Club, run for so many years by Graham Thomas - but readily admits that he is even more thrilled at the fact that his 15 year old daughter Cassandra joined him gaining her Black Belt at the same grading session.
Also in attendance when both achieved the honour was his wife Nicola, who he says was indirectly responsible for him setting out in the martial art at all.
She had fancied having a go herself after Cassandra had first set out and encouraged Carlo to join her in the parents' class but stopped after about six weeks because it wasn't for her and he decided to carry on in the hope of perhaps achieving the white, yellow and orange belts awarded at the start of an involvement with the sport.

Six years of commitment

"It wasn't easy going," admitted Carlo, "but I stuck at it and in the intervening six years was also successful in achieving green, purple and three versions of the brown belt to set the scene for an eventual attempt at the coveted black belt."
During this time Cassandra was also passing through the system and so it was that both had the black belt in their sights last summer but decided they weren't quite ready and it was agreed that they should take part at the winter grading session.

Hard work en route to Black Belt

"To say the whole day was physically and mentally challenging is something of an understatement," said Carlo, "because even the warm-up was monitored to make sure we were giving 100% in our defence and kicking sessions.
This was followed by our 'Kumite', which entailed Carlo showing his fighting skills against some opponents and by the end of this session he knew that his energy levels had dropped - but he managed to raise the tempo again for the 'Kata' part of the grading, where he had to show his ability to listen to instructions in Japanese and then carry out a series of drills in set sequences whilst marching up and down the 'Dojo' for almost three-quarters of an hour.
To end the grading Carlo had to do some intensive shadow boxing as a means of warming down before what seemed an age waiting to hear from assessors Shihan Graham Thomas (6th Dan),  Sensei Tony D'Arcy (2nd Dan), Sensei Martin Morgan (2nd Dan) and Sensei Keith Roberts (2nd Dan).

Great thrill for whole family

"We had to wait for the results of the lower belts before it was announced that Cassandra was a Black Belt First Dan before my name came out with the same result - and there were tears of pride in my eyes as Nicola joined us for a group hug"
"It is wonderful that we now have our black belts and sometime in the near future we will receive our presentation belts which will have our names embroidered on them."

Other sporting involvement . . .

Outside of his commitment to karate, Carlo previously enjoyed running, which has always held him in good stead from the time in his younger days at Greenhill School, Tenby, where he won the cross country in his final year and came 11th in the county event after misjudging the distance and finishing with plenty in hand that could have moved him much higher.
When he competed in the Saundersfoot Fun Run he had two first places and two seconds in his four years there alongside a number of the Welsh rugby squad which traditionally took part - and when the results were published in the local paper they credited him with a time of 12 minutes over a four mile course!

. . . And a mistaken world record in the local press!

Carlo Favorido"That would have made me a world-record holder but whilst the time was right the course, from the slipway at Saundersfoot to Wiseman's Bridge and back, was actually more like 2.5 miles!"
"I also ran in the Tenby half marathon, where I ran too fast too soon to be in the top ten early on but then faded to a place nearer 80th - but it made me realise I needed to be fitter and the following year finished 6th in an excellent time of one hour 22 minutes.
"I enjoyed running in the Cardiff Half Marathon and when work took me to Eastbourne I competed in the Eastbourne 10 mile race and the Seven Sisters Cross Country Marathon near Beachy Head.
"It was a grueling course where my left knee packed in at 13 miles and my right followed three miles later - but I hobbled to the finish before realising that my serious running days were over."

Great work by Graham and Co at Pembroke Dock Karate Club

When Carlo and family returned to Pembroke he started some gentle running with Cassandra before she eventually opted for karate and started to climb through the ranks.
Ask Carlo about influences on his karate involvement and he would unhesitatingly acknowledge the immense support he has received from Graham Thomas and Co at the club.
"Graham has been brilliant in giving good advice and urging me on - and can still outperform us, as he has proved in practice on numerous occasions when he has dumped me on the mat!"
The compliment is returned by Mr Thomas, who told us,
"Carlo is a great example to our young students because he has really persevered and his dedication has paid off - he is a credit to our club."

Bumps and bruises

Luckily, Carlo has escaped any serious injuries; the worst being a broken finger as he misjudged the distance between him and an opponent so the contact fell on Carlo's digit instead of the side of his hand.
It meant a trip to hospital for an overnight stop and a few days' rest - and there have been a few bumps and bruises, especially on his back when he has been sparring with Cassandra in the Dojo!

And finally . . .

On the subject of continuing his gradings Carlo would say that there could be a chance of a Second Dan at some stage but at the moment he is happy to enjoy what he does now, including handing out advice to some of the youngsters.
"Being involved helps me keep fit and supple," said Carlo, "and I would recommend other parents to take their youngsters along and give it a go, like I did.
"It has certainly worked for this modest gentleman and we wish Carlo Favorido every future success because he is credit to his sport!