A DUMBARTON martial arts family spanning over three generations has kept their niche Shoto Budo self-defence training alive throughout lockdown.

Local man Jimmy Monaghan, his sister Julie and their parents have been training in the art of Shoto Budo - a martial art which focuses on self-defence, self-awareness and personal development - for over two decades and just recently, Jimmy brought his infant son Robbie into the fold, stretching his family’s local legacy.

At 18-years-old, Jimmy was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, but with his continuous training of over 21 years, has managed to keep the disease under control.

Jimmy told the Reporter: “The Shoto Budo organisation started over 30 years ago where our technical director Billy Haggerty, who had achieved the grade of 5th Dan at Shoto Khan karate under the instruction of Harada Sensi, formed the art of Shoto Budo and has continued to train and teach this art.

“Myself and my dad have been fortunate enough to train on a weekly basis with Billy Haggerty since joining the organization.

“In 2006, when I reached junior black belt and my dad reached 1st Dan, we started our own club locally in the Phoenix Community Centre in Castlehill and in recent years we are now training in the Concord Community Centre in Dumbarton.

“We have been fortunate as over the years we have successfully received a number of funding opportunities which has allowed us to continue training and teaching on a voluntary not for profit basis.”

With lockdown bringing all close-contact physical sports to a standstill, Jimmy and the family had to rely on social media to keep getting the word out there to their members – a tight-knit group that have grown throughout lockdown together.

“Although we are a martial arts club, we have become really good friends.” Jimmy continued, “Therefore, when we had to postpone our classes due to lockdown, we relied on social media to keep in touch.

“We continued to support our students by uploading regular training videos, competitions and fitness practices to encourage our members to stay active and to continue engaging with Shoto Budo.

“When we started up again, we met at Posties Park. Initially, we focused mainly on people’s health and well-being.”

Though outdoor training in the summer is a welcome sight after the long days of lockdown, Jimmy and the team are looking forward to training indoors again and seeing some new faces.

He said: “We hope that we will be able to restart our indoor classes at the beginning of November in the Concord Community Centre and that all of our current members will return to practice with us.

“We would like to see our club continue to grow and benefit the local community. Therefore, we would like to invite anyone who is interested in joining our classes to get in touch with us.”

For more information on the club or to take part, visit shotobudo.org or search for Dumbarton Shoto Budo on Facebook.