Personal development and discipline
Published: 06 Jan 2017
Everyone can do karate at any age, just like Ronnie Watt.
A serious motorbike accident in 1965 was the catalyst to a new life for Ronnie Watt. At nearly 70 years of age, he is still “super fit”, and it is karate he has to thank.
The life of an engineer was cut short when Ronnie nearly lost a leg. When he got out of hospital he joined a judo club as one of the first members and has trained every day. Fifty years later he has nine black belts, an Order of the Rising Sun – a rare honour by the Japanese for someone from outside the country – and has toured the world.
“I have been involved with Japan for many years,” he said.
Ronnie is not long back from a trip to Japan thanks to an invitation from fellow martial artist Kazuo Yamazaki. A Kendo instructor from Japan, Kazuo set up the Aberdeen Kendo Club in March 2004. Ronnie and his wife, Gail, also received an invite to Nagasaki by the mayor, Notiyasu Takahara, where a dinner with some of the most prominent Karate Masters was hosted in his honour.
“When I went in with my red jacket and kilt they loved it,” he said.
Japan is a familiar place to Ronnie as he has visited six times before and trained in the world famous Takushoku Dojo, where the Japan Karate Association brought modern Shotokan Karate to the world.
“I met the top three or four professors who are really keen to come and lecture,” said Ronnie.
When Ronnie first started learning karate, there were very few places to go. He spent years training in Japan and attended courses by the Japanese Masters which were ran in London’s Crystal Palace. In his career, Ronnie has taught more than 20,000 pupils and has brought Japanese instructors to the UK, Germany and Norway.
“I’m still very humble. I still think there is a long way to go to try and promote Japan in Scotland and get top karate people within the industry and sport. We can learn a lot,” he said.
In 2001, Ronnie brought a team over from Japan to compete in a friendly competition at the AECC. The WKC World Karate Championships was one of the first organisations to form which looked over the sport at all levels in Europe. It now includes a global network of countries in its membership with representatives each running successful organisations on all five continents.
About his recent visit to Japan, Ronnie said: “We were going to Nagasaki to meet and discuss an Aberdeen trip in the future.”
Ronnie hopes to organise for an exchange in 2018. A total of 22 Japanese students and children were hosted in 2015 when they were doing a pilgrimage visit from Kagoshima to Aberdeen and London. Ronnie helped to organise the trip and Aberdeen hosted every person with a family, including with Ronnie and his friends.
Creator of the successful Scottish Samurai Awards, Ronnie has also been recognised by the Queen with an OBE. Thanks to his efforts within the industry, Ronnie was entered into the European Hall of Fame for Martial Artists last year and was awarded his 9th Dan. The Scottish Samurai Awards have grown every year and recognise and encourage people from all walks of life.
Ronnie said: “Real karate is a mental and physical culture. You can do it at any age. It is training the mind and the body, with personal development and discipline.”