Let’s just start off by saying I soon established that I needed to tread carefully in my interview with Dennis Crilley, Telesales Executive at AquAid Glasgow.
There had been talk at the water cooler that Dennis was a Ninja. A Ninja in Glasgow? Surely not! Before the talk spiralled out of control about throwing stars and midnight rooftop reconnaissance, I set off to chat with Dennis about the Ninja rumours and any other information he could provide.
*RI: So, Dennis, I hear tell that you may be a Ninja?
DC: You’ve made me have a good chuckle. Yes, Ninja all the way, with my Little Ninja Turtles all doing their best in training. Seriously though, I really just got into it as a way of keeping fit and something different to just going to the gym. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t been involved in any situation that I had to use my Ninja Warrior moves.
The funniest thing was when I initially read the interview notes, I was almost 100% sure that Dennis practices the exact same style of karate that I used to – Shotokan Karate. I could tell this from how he describes the discipline and how he approaches his karate. As it turns out, I was correct. Clearly, we were well taught!
The ‘Ninja’ mention actually stems from the art of Ninjutsu, which is the strategy and tactics of unconventional and guerrilla warfare as well as the art of espionage, whereas Shotokan Karate is actually a school of self-defence and not about aggression and ‘fighting’ at all.
What a lot of people may not know is that martial arts has an enormous range of styles and disciplines – from the Chinese martial arts like Kungfu, Wushu and Kuoshu, under which there are literally hundreds of styles; through to the Japanese martial arts like Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Karate and Kobudo amongst many others. These forms don’t include the hundreds of other martial arts styles around the globe.
Dennis told me that much of his enjoyment of karate derives from the fact that the sport helps everybody in their own lives differently: from kids learning discipline; dealing with bullies; making new friends and that for him personally, it gives him a goal to constantly strive for, whether its improving on a new technique or next belt, there is always something that keeps him going. So, on that reflection, it changes the way a person looks on their everyday life and how to improve on that.
I asked Dennis about any serious injuries he’d sustained while practising karate.
He told me that apart from a few black eyes and burst noses over the years which are pretty much all part of karate training, he’s essentially injury free. Alrighty, then!
I asked what was next on the cards with his karate.
He said that his next step would be to achieve his 3rd Dan; hopefully passing the grading in August this year, so fingers crossed! (For the uninitiated, that will be a 3rd Dan black belt).
In closing, I asked Dennis what his life motto is.
He replied with a rather sage, “Aspire and you will achieve!’’
With each interview, I’m beginning to realise that the AquAid Team consist of a rather incredible group of individuals – from an ex-wrestler turned stand-up comedian in Birmingham; a globe trotter learning his stripes, now based in San Francisco in the States, through to a karate-ka (a practitioner of karate) based in Glasgow.
Sotto voice: All said, even though I now know that Dennis is not an actual Ninja Ninja, I believe I won’t be sneaking up behind him any time soon – I quite like my nose’s current central positioning on my face.
Said aloud: ‘Thanks Dennis, we’ll be holding all digits for your grading in August!’
*RI = Roving Interviewer