Gorleston father achieves karate dream thanks to black belt daughter

A KARATE-chopping former bus driver is over the moon since his black belt daughter helped him achieve his childhood dream.

Keith Nixon, 51, had longed to earn his black belt since he was eight years old and saw a martial arts demonstration team at a church hall.

But the Gorleston man’s family did not have the money to send him to lessons, and he feared the chance had passed him by when he started a family and held down a string of jobs - including guest house proprietor, pipe fitter and bus driver.

None of his five children showed an interest in the sport until his youngest - Sigourney - reached Stradbroke Primary School, and she kicked and punched her way to a black belt at the tender age of 11.

Once qualified, she agreed to teach her dad some karate moves, and three years later the father and daughter are both proud black belts.

Keith said: “I had always wanted to take up karate, since I was very young, but going and watching my daughter inspired me to take it up.

“I kept putting it off before, but I told her ‘when you get your black belt I’ll take it up’ - so I took it up in January 2009.”

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The pair can be seen practising their fighting moves on the cliff tops, and they enter competitions to keep improving.

Sigourney, now 14, was one of the youngest black belts in the country when she passed in 2008, and is delighted her dad has made the achievement too.

“He was a really good pupil,” the Cliff Park High School pupil revealed. “It was weird having roles reversed, but it was fun.

“I’d always wanted my dad to join so I could teach him stuff.”

They both put in the hours at East Coast Black Belt School, in Suffolk Road, Gorleston, and also practice at home in Lady Margaret’s Avenue.

Mum Amanda, 53, said it is strange to live with two black belts and joked: “They practice on me sometimes, but I don’t mind! I’m really proud of them.”

The father and daughter have learnt the English Korean form of karate, and can progress beyond a black belt - the next step is a second dan black belt.

But rules state Sigourney must wait until she is 16 before taking the next exam, and there is friendly rivalry about Keith leap-frogging her after taking up karate three years after her.

Keith chuckled: “I always say I’m going to get my second dan before her!”

Sigourney’s brothers Robert, 24, Kelvin, 20 and sisters Scarlett, 17 and Jacqueline, 25 have not expressed an interest in being taught karate - yet.