When people think about karate and the martial arts, often the flying kicks of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee seen on the silver screen spring to mind.
However, Sport Karate East (SKE) chief Richard Mallinson knows it is so much more than that, as he builds rounded people through focus and discipline as well as elite athletes.
The South Road dojo is alive with activity most nights, with all ages and abilities taking part in the sport.
Mallinson, as youth development director, is proud to help progress the fledgling careers of rising stars like Matthew Pratt (14), Daisy Hutchison (12) and Filip Zmudzinski (11), alongside fellow-coaches and athletes like Kyle McLean (27).
Originally from Ayrshire and a corporate background, 56-year-old Mallinson has given his life to the sport he loves and karate has given back to him. He enjoyed a top career, turning out for Scotland, and feels it is his duty to return the favour.
With events coming up like the Scottish International Open and the British Championships later this month, Mallinson was also keen to stress SKE is not just open to the aforementioned elite and believes karate offers little victories for all.
He said: “What we want is an organisation from cradle to grave.
“It is a warm and welcoming environment, too, almost half of our membership are not of Scottish descent. It’s a family, we support them but they earn that, too.
“Treating each other with dignity and respect is important and normal for martial arts.
“Everyone has something to give, they have special talents and we want to make sure the ones that want to be athletes have a pathway.
“As a youngster I did martial arts and I’ve been blessed throughout my life, I’ve had my cake and ate it having a career and being an athlete. I want to give that passion, fun and enjoyment back.
“All our athletes are self-funded but we’re fortunate to have Fresh-Jet helping with equipment and costs.”
The immensely impressive Pratt, who despite his tender years stands at 6ft 3in, recently made history by becoming the first Dundonian to be called up by Scotland in 25 years.
The third year Morgan Academy pupil will attempt to win a World Championship title at cadet and U/21 level in Chile in October Although, whatever happens, Pratt feels he will be a better person for taking up the sport.
He said: “I train 4-5 times a week, 10-12 hours. Richard is a really good coach as well, he always helps, tries to make you better and push you over the edge. That’s helped me win more competitions and titles.
“My goal just now is to win the World Championships and when I’m older I want to get enough ranking points to make it into the Olympics.
“Karate teaches you a lot of discipline and in school it’s useful as I can always do that wee bit better. I know how to listen, when to talk and to behave correctly.
“It’s more than just fighting, it’s life skills as well. When you’re going away to competitions, you are meeting new people from new countries. It helps with social skills.”
The likes of Hutchison and Zmudzinski look up to Pratt in many ways but, importantly, share his ambition to compete at the highest level at the Olympics.
Hutchison said: “Karate has changed my life completely from the way I used to be when I was younger with the discipline and respect you learn.”