Martial arts is proving its worth

Since its formation in 2000, the Satorishido Martial Arts Association, based in James Ramsay Park, has seen remarkable changes, establishing its own headquarters within the space of 8 years. Sensei Albert Ross – who has been involved in martial arts for the past 40 years, along with a dedicated committee, has been instrumental in the formation, development and day-to-day running of the Satorishido club.

In late 2011, the latest phase in the ever-growing building in which the club is situated was opened to the public and has proved a success, highlighting both the club’s current ambitions and how far it has come since the turn of the century.

Mr Ross explained his martial arts background and how he became involved in the sport, as well as his initial ambitions for the club:

“I’ve been involved in Martial Arts since the age of 14.

“I first started with the British Judo Association (BJA) in Northampton, but decided that Judo wasn’t for me and shortly after that the Bruce Lee films came in, and everybody wanted to do karate. I tried all different styles of Karate, until I decided to take up freestyle Karate.

“I’ve reached the Black belt grade of 4th Dan, could’ve reached a higher level but decided to focus more on kickboxing at the age of 35. I’ve continued to teach kickboxing until the present date and now have a 5th Dan in that. I feel that Kickboxing has a more competitive edge in this country than karate as we’ve had people who have earned World and European titles come through this club.

“I was involved with a Martial Arts association in Aberdeen for a number of years but became disillusioned as there was plenty money being ploughed into the club but no end product for the students, which was the opposite of what I wanted to see in the sport. I then broke away from the association with the view of starting my own classes.”

For those that are old enough to remember, the site of the club’s headquarters are based on what was formerly an old council shed, an eyesore to the people of the Broch, which highlighted the town’s need for investment and development within the community, a need which has remained intact since.

However a plan for the transition of these inadequate huts was soon underway and a home for the newly-formed SMAA began to take shape within the space of only a few years.

“After I started my own classes it proved rather successful, I taught all around the North East and as time went on it was an ambition of mine to have a central headquarters or dojo. When these buildings became available at James Ramsay Park in 2000, I noticed that they were being abandoned by the council due to vandalism, but after having a look at them it was obvious they were in a derelict state.

“However, it seemed an ideal area to build a dojo because it was easily accessible and had its uses if work was put into renovating the building. The council felt the building was beyond repair but they granted me a lease and it took until 2003 to open the doors for the Satorishido Club’s use.

“The transformation was incredible,” said Mr Ross.

A visible success and indication that the club was heading in the right direction is the interest that has since been generated in both the karate and kickboxing classes – which now function multiple times a week due to the high demand – as well as the fully-operational gym that now exists in the western wing of the building.

Another appealing factor which the club holds is its ability to cater for students of all ages, abilities and fitness levels, as well as investing all profits back into the club for the use of its students as Mr Ross went on to explain:

“I wanted the money to go back into the Club and was advised that we go down the charitable route which has since proved successful. Up until 2010 we were working at full capacity, both the karate and kickboxing classes were full so the committee felt that an extension was required to the present building.

“Work was started last year on this £250,000 project after a series of fundraisers and a lot of local businesses contributing, especially Banff and Buchan College. By March of the following year we were ready to work on the internal building.

“The latest part of the building has brought the club up into the next generation, it’s a huge expansion because we don’t want to be known as solely being a martial arts club, instead a sports facility which gives the community a wider range. The club itself invested over £30,000 into the new extension and it’s a big, big step for a small club in a town the size of Fraserburgh.

“We are self-sufficient, self-run and in that respect probably the biggest in the North East of Scotland. It’s a void in Fraserburgh that required filling and we feel it’s been done successfully.

“In ten years time I would like to see this club doing as well as it’s doing in the present day and giving the community a place where they can come and enjoy, that’s the overall aim of the club.”

Further information on the club is available on their website: smaa.co.uk.