Cardiff character: Rob Green

Alt Cardiff managed to grab a quick 5 minutes with Sensei Rob Green from his karate class, to chat to us how he karate-chopped his way into Coach of the Year finals and how he invented a completely new type of karate.

The annual Sports Coach of the Year awards is quickly dawning on us and finalist Rob Green has been nominated for the Coach Disabled Sportspeople of the Year category.

With more than 30 years of experience under his belt and having already won the Sports Cardiff Disability Coach of the Year, earlier this year. Robert is a very experienced karateka and sure knows his ‘geri’ to his ‘ tsuki’. For the past 5 years, he set up his own karate club, called St. Pats Karate club. Now, there are 19 classes all over Cardiff and they have around 250 people training with the club.

Rob is very proud of all the work he’s accomplished so far and being nominated he feels that, “It’s amazing to think that other people are recognising the work we’re doing.  But there is a lot of people behind me, obviously my wife, Sue, supports me and without that it wouldn’t be where it is now, it’s great to where we’ve got to now and to be nominated for such a glamorous award.”

Rob decided he wanted to start karate at the tender age of 9. “I didn’t come from such a good background, my family wouldn’t really support me financially. However, I had managed to raise the money by myself by doing a paper round, it was my ambition.” And by the age of 15 Rob was already competing and won the Welsh championships.

Adapting to those in need

Three years on after the club had started, St. Pats karate club focused on an entirely new direction and set up a disability classes. It was a struggle to find students at first, but now the club has over 20 students with some kind of disability ranging from wheelchair students to visually impaired.

Nobody has ever taught karate to those in wheelchairs before so Robert had an idea and thought, “there’s a great opportunity and we manage to take it as far as we can and managed to create the very first wheelchair karate championships.”

Rob explains that wheelchairs students obviously cannot do any kicking. He admits that it has been tough and says, “ We’ve had to develop everything on our own, because nobody else is doing it. That’s been the biggest test and we’re teaching completely blind. It’s been very difficult and a challenge with the disabled and I love it.”

Rob is looking into expanding his classes to deaf and blind students, so that all can attend his classes and it’s constantly growing.

Kicking towards a gold

Outside of coaching Robert has been working hard to develop the sport enough to get it included as a Paralympic sport category in its own right. “I’m proud to say that this club has made a massive role in it. It is currently been shortlisted down to the last two and a decision will be made next September.”

Although Robert’s been nominated for all his efforts he is determined to keep coaching, “I’m going to keep going on irrelevant to whether I win an award or not, it’s not what I’m in it for, it’s for the coaching.” Added Robert.