Peterborough pensioner becomes a black belt in karate

John Semeraro (71) is the definition of the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 6:18 am
John Semeraro with coach Ian Parker at MPSK

After watching his grandson Oren practice karate, John was inspired to take up the martial art himself. Though no-one could have predicted the natural talent John has for karate and how far it would take him after he recently received his black belt.

Surprising many others at the club, John had no prior martial arts experience. He said: “I thought I may as well join in while I was waiting for him and it spiralled from there.” So John then began taking classes at MPSK martial arts school in Bretton.

Oren (15) who is currently a red belt often spars with his grandad, and John is convinced he’s taught him too well.

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Owing it all to his teacher Ian Parker, John sings his praises, he said: “He is an excellent, though he is very strict. We’ve got to earn it.”

Describing his grading as intense, John endured star jumps, routines, press ups, sparring pads, running and fighting up to ten people at once. Though John took around a week to recover, that doesn’t hinder his love for the martial art, as he still attends between six times a week.

Despite his remarkable achievement, John doesn’t hold out too much hope of progressing to higher grades. He said: “I have to wait two years for my second belt, three years from then for my third and on it goes. Crikey I’ve not got the years left but I will keep on. The only thing that will stop me is ill health.”

Finding friendship within the club has been important to John and other members. He said: “The club has such a nice atmosphere, it’s a family. We go away together, we go to camps- it really is a wonderful place to be. Especially if anyone is looking for friendships. It’s a community. We all help each other out, and muck in together and look after each other.

“I’ve made lots of friends and at my age they are all disappearing.”