Aidan O’Boyle, who is in Year 10 at Loreto College, started training with the Zanshin NI Shotokan Karate Club in Kilrea when he was only six. Over the next five years, Aidan achieved all ten belts, from white to brown double white, going on to achieve his First Dan Black Belt (Shodan) in March 2010, when he was 11. Two years later, in March 2012, Aidan achieved his Second Dan Black Belt: he is currently the youngest Second Dan in Zanshin in Northern Ireland.
Over the past eight years, Aidan has remained a constant member of Zanshin NI, competing in both Kata and Kumite events throughout this time, achieving many first, second and third places in both events. In 2009, he achieved a special award as Most Determined Student, while in 2010 he was named Most Improved Student and Junior Student of the Year. Eager to share his skills with others, Aidan is now an assistant instructor with the club, in the Jim Watt Centre in Garvagh on Wednesday nights.
In recent years, Aidan’s achievements have become more and more impressive. Since 2011, he has been a member of the Northern Ireland Junior squad. In July 2012, he took part in a Shotokan Karate competition in Lifford, Co. Donegal, at which he achieved First Place in Kumite, First in Kata, Second in Open Kata and the award for Best Overall Junior Competitor of the day. In November 2012, Aidan competed in the Northern Ireland National Championships, achieving First in Kumite and Second in Kata, as well as winning a ‘Kick Factor’ competition.
Aidan’s skills and outstanding progress have not gone unnoticed. In September 2012, when he had just turned 14, he was invited by the KUGB to train along with the England Junior Kumite Squad at the Liverpool Red Triangle. He will be competing in the Grand Slams in Chesterfield on 16th March, and then in the National Championships in Birmingham in May 2013. After this, he will take part in the National Youth Championships in Chesterfield in July 2013, which will lead on to the WSKA World Championships in Liverpool, next September. Aidan is the youngest person to have been selected to compete at this level.
Modest about his achievements, Aidan paid tribute to his coaches, Sensei Terry Geddis and Sensei Lisa Hunter, for their vision, expertise and support, as well as all those who have supported him through his eight years to date within Zanshin NI.
Terry Geddis, Chief Instructor, said it was “full steam ahead for this promising young Karateka”, paying tribute to Aidan’s hard work, dedication and enthusiasm, as well as the limitless support of his family, friends and school. Terry urged anyone inspired to get involved in Karate by Aidan’s success story to phone him on 07931 981962 or visit the websit www.zsni.co.uk or find the club on Facebook.
Mrs Maureen McCullough, Head of PE at Loreto College Coleraine, commented that Aidan’s success was an exciting and inspiring example to all his fellow students. On behalf of all the staff and students of Loreto, Mr Michael James, College Principal, congratulated Aidan on his achievements to date and wished him every success in his upcoming season of competitions.