Today we’d like to invite you behind the scenes, to meet one of the amazing people from our team at SSE Energy Solutions…
By day, Kirsty Norman is a Project Manager and has been at SSE Energy Solutions for just over six years. By night, she’s a Black Belt in Karate and is getting ready to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Malta this week.
It's never too late to become a ninja
Kirsty started Karate in 2014, aged 28, and instantly fell in love with it. She has trained intensely – 4 sessions a week – pursuing Karate as not just a sport and passion but a full-on lifestyle.
During past four years she’s been coached by some of the world’s top Karate athletes, trained at summer camps in Ireland and New York, and worked her way through the Shotokan syllabus earning belts and is currently a 1st Dan Black Belt.
Kirsty in action. First competition for kumite (silver medal)
First taste of competitions
Kirsty was first selected to enter the WTKO Nationals competition in 2015. At this event she competed in both Kata (choreographed movements of kick, blocks, and strikes) and Kumite (fighting). All pretty impressive considering she’d only picked up the sport the year before…
In 2016, she was selected to participate in the WTKO World Championships. And after winning five fights, she came away with a silver medal.
Chatting to Kirsty it sounds like she still can’t believe it herself:
‘‘Getting a silver medal was a massive achievement for me as I was brand new 3rd Kyu (brown belt) and I’d only just graded the week before. All of my fights were against black belts (1st Dan up to 5th Dan).
To paint a picture, I’d been training for nearly 2 years and my last fight was with a 5th Dan level fighter, who’d been training for 25 years.’’
Kirsty with two silver medals from WKTO Nationals
Taking things up a gear
Fast forward to 2017, she then attended FEKO squad training and subsequently represented them in the National Opens.
This competition is notoriously tough – and if that wasn’t daunting enough – Kirsty was drawn to fight the Great British reigning champion in the first round. Perhaps expectedly she didn’t win the fight – but learned a whole lot, and felt honored to fight such a talented contender.
The following February she competed with the same squad and came away with a bronze medal after three rounds.
Kirsty fighting with the FEKO squad
The toughest test yet
This part is where Kirsty’s sport takes her to the next level. After taking a six-month break from competing, Kirsty was invited to attend the KKO squad openings/selections.
The KKO are a high standard squad who compete at the next level (e.g. Internationally).
Kirsty talks on trying out for the KKO squad:
‘‘This was a totally nerve-wracking experience as throughout the whole day, I was watched with critical eyes. The try outs weren’t easy, I had to do 4 hours training and competition fights whilst being judged by qualified referees.’’
Later that day, Kirsty found out she been selected! And she’s now preparing to represent Great Britain in the kumite event in the upcoming European Championships in Malta.
The full KKO Squad 2018
She's off to the European Championships
This will be her biggest challenge yet and we’re so excited to support her and see what she can do. The event itself is 7 days long – 3 days training and 4 days of competing.
It all kicks off on the 22 October so join us in sending some positive energy, and in wishing Kirsty the best of luck. We’re all so proud of everything you’ve achieved and can’t wait to have you back in the office!