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Alumni of the Month November 2008
Scott Langley (1995 Geography & Sociology)
1. How did you get to where you are now?
I started martial arts at the young age of 5, however, I settled on karate when I was 11 years old. I trained twice a week or so throughout my school days and gained black belt at 18 years old. However, that is when my training went up a gear. I started at Keele University and was able to train three times a week there. I also trained at the Kato Sensei’s personal dojo in Whitchurch, a short ride from Keele, a further two or three times a week. Kato Sensei was the chief instructor in the UK and a received top level instructor. My four years at Keele helped me gain a place on the national team and ultimately gave me the advantage I needed to win the world championships in 1996.
2. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Completing the karate instructor’s course! There are European and World Champions every year, but in the 60 year history on the Japanese Instructors’ Course there have only been about 100 graduates of the course. Furthermore, out of those 100 only 6 have been foreigners. I was number 5. Graduating from the course was the proudest day of my life.
3. And your biggest mistake?
It is such a cliché to say you have no regrets… However, I have no regrets! I have made mistakes, but none so big that they stick out in my mind. If I could easily recall them I would regret my actions; however, I can not muster the memory of any major faux par in my career so far.
4. What are your ambitions now?
I am helping to create the largest karate organisation in the UK and Ireland. Historically this has been very difficult due to politics within the sport. However, within the last six years our group has gone from nothing to become the largest within the British Isles. I am proud of this fact and my ambition is to maintain this and create an unshakable stability within the association.
5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
I think there are certain truths that percolate throughout any part of life, whether it be in business, sport, family life etc. If we work hard and have self-belief than whatever we achieve will not be a failure. In my field this is very true. I always wanted to do the instructors’ course. Of course I kept it a secret from family and friends; it was my dream. However, through a series of small steps I made efforts to inch forward slowly to my dream. I believed in myself and worked hard and eventually I got there. It took time and an ability to see a long-term plan, but eventually it paid dividend.
6. What made you choose Keele University?
My parents think I chose Keele for the courses it offered… Honestly, I chose Keele for the proximity to Kato Sensei.
7. How has Keele influenced your life?
Despite making the rash decision aged 18 to choose a University on purely geographical reasons, Keele gave me all the tools to get to where I am now. Whilst there I was able to take a subsidiary in Japanese; Keele gave me the contacts and friendships that would prove invaluable whilst living in Japan. Above all else, Keele gave me the degree that would allow me to enter Japan with a working visa and stay there for five years!
8. What is your favourite memory of Keele?
The friendships I made there! I am still in touch with many friends from those days and I will always cherish those memories.
9. And your worst?
I had a geography lecture at 9am on Thursday mornings in my first year. When the AU disco got going a few weeks into term I struggled to make it, but tried my best. Fast-forward to the end of the year and the AU disco was stopped due to no fixtures (I also played hockey for 1st XI), so I turned up to my lecture in a good condition. I opened the door to find no one there. Outraged I made my way to the secretary’s office to lodge my complaint that I had not been told of the change of location… She looked at me in disbelief. That lecture changed venue in the third week of term! I had missed a whole year. God knows how I got a 2:1!
10. Anything else you would like to add?
My time at Keele was (as it should be for everyone) the best time of my life. Academically, I managed to redeem myself from my first year’s truancy and karate-wise I developed more than I thought possible and that gave me the tools that have brought me to where I am now. Thanks Keele!