Sensei Rab is top of the karate tree
Referee takes on European judging duties
AN Erskine karate star has become the highest-rated Kata judge in the country - after a once in a lifetime trip to a Europe-wide event in Moscow.
Sensei Rab McQueen of Erskine's Shitokai Karate Club - a sixth Dan black belt - was refereeing at the European Regional Championships in the Russian capital when he gained the prestigious accolade, seldom been achieved north of the border in recent years.
But while basking in the honour, the 57-year-old couldn't take in much of Moscow during his trip because of the busy competitive agenda at the tournament.
He even found the city's iconic Red Square was "shut" when he tried to pay a visit.
He told the Gazette: "There was some sort of pop concert on and all the roads were blocked off so to be honest although we had a good trip I didn't really get a chance to see much of the city, and probably won't get the chance again."
At the event he gained his World Karate Federation European A Class Kata judging qualification, which along with his existing European Referring qualification makes him the highest-graded international karate referee in Scotland.
He said: "This is a qualification to be proud of, as very few reach this level of achievement.
"In fact there are only two other international referees in Scotland at present and neither of them are qualified in both Kata and Kumite." Meanwhile the club can now boast two new 1st Dan black belts, following the success of Ewen Macluskie and Blair Wishart, at the recent Shitokai Scotland black belt gradings.
The boys had to work through a gruelling session of basics, kata and kumite with the other candidates.
And in a further success Graeme Docherty recently became the Shitokai Scotland Kata Champion for his 7-9 years age group at the Scottish Shitokai Championships.
Mr McQueen said: "This was a remarkable achievement and shows he has a great potential ahead."
Anyone interested in joining the flourishing club when it starts up again in August after the holiday break can contact him on 07976 268518.
This article appeared in The Gazette 26 Jul 12