Oct 032016

Ronnie Watt (left) as depicted by celebrated Aberdeen painter, Eric Auld.

By Charlie Abel.

Aberdeen’s famous Karate man Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) will be flying off to Japan on Frday (Oct 7) at the invitation of the Japanese through a fellow martial artist. A Kendo instructor from Japan, Kazuo Yamazaki, who is well known in Aberdeen for setting up the Aberdeen Kendo Club a number of years ago, has invited Ronnie and his wife Gail to accompany him on a tour of Japan.

The highlight of the tour for Ronnie will be visiting the Karate Dojo’s where they have organised displays of three of the traditional Japanese karate styles.

They will also visit Nagasaki where they have been invited by Tomishisa Taue, the Mayor of Nagasaki and some of the most prominent Karate Masters in their area to attend a dinner in his honour.

Ronnie is no stranger to Japan having visited six times to date and training in the world famous Takushoku Dojo, where modern Shotokan Karate was brought to the world by the Japan Karate Association.

Ronnie’s connections with Japan go back a long way. When he started Karate 50 years ago, after being inspired by James Bond movies, very little was known about Karate in Scotland. Few people knew anything other than simple basics and even that was of a questionable standard. The only way to learn was to go to Japan or attend some courses the Japanese masters were running down at Crystal Palace in London. Ronnie did both.

After years of training with the visiting Japanese instructors and visiting the source of knowledge in Japan Ronnie became well known as an instructor and an international competitor. Leading the Scottish Karate team and Teaching over 20,000 people karate.

In his Karate career Ronnie has brought many Japanese Instructors to the UK, Germany and Norway. He became good friends with many legendary karate masters such as Nakayama, Kase, Shirai, Enoeda and Ochi. Many would stay at his home in Aberdeen. Ronnie brought a team over from Japan to compete in a friendship tournament and in 2001 organised the WKC World Karate Championships at the Aberdeen Exhibition and conference centre.

His work with the Japanese and the good work Ronnie has contributed to Karate, not only in the UK but in many countries he visits to teach Karate, has not gone unrecognised.

Ronnie is one of the few people to be honoured by the Japanese outside of Japan, with an Order of the Rising Sun – an award not to be taken lightly. He has also since been recognised by the Queen with an OBE and named ‘Sports personality of the year’ by Aberdeen City Council.

the Scottish Samurai Awards have grown into something really special

He also has honours from the government of Slovakia and from other Karate Clubs in Europe. Last year he was entered into the ‘European Hall of Fame for Martial Artists’.

In 2015, in tribute to ‘Scottish Samurai’, Thomas Blake Glover, Ronnie helped to organise the hosting of 22 Japanese students and school children who were doing a pilgrimage visit from Kagoshima to Aberdeen and London. After his arrival in Japan, Glover had sent 22 students to be educated in the ‘modern world’ and is credited with modernising Japan. Glover is also credited with reviving The Order of the Rising Sun.

During the student’s tour of Aberdeen and London, Aberdeen was very proud to be able to host every person with a family including Ronnie and some of his friends. Ronnie is looking forward to seeing some of Kagoshima on his visit. Ronnie was recently awarded his 9th Dan making him one of the highest graded Karateka in the world and one of the worlds most experienced.

As if all this wasn’t already enough to keep him busy, 22 years ago Ronnie Founded a small awards event to help recognise and encourage people in different aspects of life. Initially it was centred round sports but now the Scottish Samurai Awards have grown into something really special. Each year they have grown into a more prestigious date in the Aberdeen social event calendar.

Names like Alex Salmond, Sean Connery, Sir Ian Wood, Tommy Dreelan, Martin Gilbert, Dr Joseph Morrow (Lord Lyon of Scotland) and The Very Reverend Professor Ian Torrance, have added Kudos to the broad spectrum of recipients who are recognised for being ‘people of spirit’ – Scottish Samurai.

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Jul 142016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Wallace VisitAberdeenshireAberdeen and Aberdeenshire are leading Scotland with more tourism professionals achieving WorldHost accreditation that any other area in the country.
Over 1,300 people working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to visitor attraction managers – have now completed the training, which promotes world-class customer service.

In addition, 73 businesses of all sizes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have attained WorldHost Recognised Business status, including Aberdeen Taxis, Braemar Highland Safaris, the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel and The Spotty Bag Shop.

This means over 50% of staff have undertaken WorldHost training, and owners have signed a commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

While traditionally this kind of training has been aimed squarely at accommodation providers, WorldHost – a renowned customer service training scheme popularised by the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games – brings together all those working in the tourism industry. From transport providers to restauranteurs, the course aims to focus operators’ attention on the entire customer journey and experience.

With the support of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, all libraries and visitor attractions are now working on gaining accreditation, alongside VisitScotland Information Centres, the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.

Elaine Booth, business engagement manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“While business travel levels have been lower in the last 12 months, the leisure market has remained constant. Historically leisure travellers saw Aberdeen as a weekend destination, with high midweek room rates pricing them out of the market. The last year, however, has seen this shift somewhat, and now is the perfect time for tourism operators to ensure that all their staff are providing excellent service to all visitors.

“WorldHost allows tourism businesses the chance to really focus in on the customer journey, and ensure that they are thinking of their guests at every stage of the process. Trainees will learn valuable skills including how to build a rapport with guests, how to empathise with and listen to customers’ concerns, and how to go the extra mile.

“It is so important that everyone working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to hotel managers – is well-versed in providing exceptional customer service, and is thinking about every step of a customer’s visit to the region.”

Those business that have gained WorldHost Recognised Business accreditation are already reaping the benefits, with an increase in solid customer satisfaction feedback. Two such businesses are the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, who achieved the status in March this year, and the Station Hotel in Portsoy which has been accredited for a number of months.

Anna MacKenzie, senior sales manager at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), says that although she feels the venue has always offered good quality service, taking part in WorldHost training has ensured that everyone is working together.

She explains,

“There is now a high level of understanding across all departments of where the customer comes in the whole process – we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone has a role to play in service delivery, from the person greeting them on arrival at the front desk to the event planning team, and this joined up thinking allows us to present an even better service to our customers.

“We as an organisation often have to sell Aberdeen and the north east as a destination before we can sell the AECC as a venue. It’s in the best interests of everyone working in the tourism and hospitality industries across the region to provide the best customer service possible – we are all ambassadors for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and contribute to a visitor’s enjoyment of their time here.”

Susan Cameron, owner of the Station Hotel in Portsoy, agrees that widespread WorldHost accreditation is the route to a boost in the tourism industry in the north east of Scotland.

She says,

“Through programmes like WorldHost, customer care in the north east of Scotland – and across the country – has really improved. The more businesses across the region that complete the training, the better. If everyone is operating at the same level and to the same high standards, there is more likelihood for visitors to return in the future or extend their stay.

“Whether a guest is visiting from Canada or down the road in Elgin, it’s important for everyone to remember the customer journey and ensure that they have the best experience possible.

“Prior to the WorldHost training, some of our staff had been through external training courses and some had been trained in-house. By putting everyone through the same training, it allowed us to ensure that we were delivering a consistent level of service across the business. It also allows a rare opportunity for the whole team to get together and really think about the service they deliver, and refresh their core customer care skills.”

Those completing their WorldHost training in the north east of Scotland are also entitled to an added bonus: access to Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, a dedicated training course that educates tourism operators in the intricacies of the north east tourism industry.

Complementing the joined-up thinking promoted by WorldHost, the online course will allow tourism organisations a greater understanding of their place in the local industry and how they can work to improve the service they provide.

For more information about WorldHost, and Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.scotland.worldhost.co.uk/regions/aberdeen-city-shire and www.visitabdn.com/discover-aberdeen-and-aberdeenshire/

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Jun 172016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association launches new tourism awards at Dunnottar Castle

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association tourism awards launch, at Dunnottar, July 2014.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) are heading into the finishing straight, and those who want to enter the prestigious scheme are being urged to get a sprint on to beat the fast-approaching deadline.
Entries close later this month on June 30, and ACSTA organisers are sounding a final call to businesses and individuals across the region to ensure they are part of the annual showcase of top tourism talent.

The awards – now in their fourth year – celebrate the very best of the area’s tourism offering, from restaurants and pubs to hotels and guest houses.

There are also accolades for top events and visitor attractions, and a brand new category for best sports event.

Individuals who make a real difference to the experience of tourists – whether they are visiting for business or leisure – will also be recognised with sections for hospitality heroes, rising stars and local ambassadors.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says the competition is heating up, but organisers want to see even more entries to ensure those who are making a significant impression on the tourism sector get credit where it is deserved.

He adds,

“The awards are not just for large operators and hotels that are part of a national or multi-national chains – this is about recognising those who go the extra mile to provide excellent service regardless of their size.

“We sometimes hear that operators have not entered because they are small in comparison to other entrants. That’s irrelevant, as what we are interested in hearing about is what they do improve the tourism offering, not how many covers they seat or what their turnover is.

“Over the past three years we have had a wide variety of winners, from charities and community groups to national chains. There is a huge benefit to taking part as even being shortlisted shows customers that a very high quality experience is being offered.

“The awards are completely free to enter, so there is absolutely nothing to lose. With the addition of the new category this year for sporting events, there is now even wider scope for operators to showcase what they provide. I would urge anyone who has not already entered not to delay and make sure their nomination is with us before the June 30 deadline.”

Entrants in each category will be shortlisted, and those who are finalists will go before an interview panel or have an undercover visit from the judging panel. ACSTA is a regional heat for the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – and winners will go on to represent the north east in that event in 2017.

The full list of awards categories is:

  1. Most Hospitable Hotel
  2. Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  3. Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation)
  4. Best Informal Eating Experience
  5. Best Restaurant Experience
  6. Friendliest Pub/Bar
  7. Best Cultural Event or Festival
  8. Best Sporting Event
  9. Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  10. Working Together for Tourism
  11. Best Visitor Attraction
  12. Tourism and Hospitality Hero
  13. Innovation in Tourism Award
  14. Regional Rising Star (age -30)
  15. Regional Ambassador (age 31+)

Entry into the awards is free and can be made at www.acsta.co.uk. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016.

Apr 292016

A team of apprentices from Scottish fund management firm, Aberdeen Asset Management have been rewarded for their efforts in raising thousands of pounds for Scotland’s National Children’s Charity, Children 1st. With thanks to Beverley Tricker, Tricker PR.

Dragons Glen raises £150K for Children 1st Charity

(L to R) Scottish Entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn presents AAM apprentices, Constance Barelle, Maja Omorczyk, Stevie Low, Abbie Skene with their award in Edinburgh.

Five dedicated apprentices raised over £13,000 in just 6 weeks of fundraising as part of the Children 1st’s Dragons’ Glen initiative.

Dragon’s Glen is an entrepreneurial challenge for Scottish businesses which sees teams from across Scotland pitch for an investment of £500 and mentoring from a selected Dragon, who include some of Scotland’s most influential business leaders.

The team, comprising of Stevie Low, Maja Omorczyk, Abbie Skene, Constance Barelle and Phoenix Megginson received a special commendation for raising the largest amount of money in the shortest amount of time, collecting their award from Scottish entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 20th April.

The Aberdeen Asset Management team reached their total of £13,527 by rolling out a number of fundraising activities in both their Aberdeen and Edinburgh offices. These included a Bonfire Night sponsored Fire Walk in Aberdeen, Office Bake Offs, Pub Quizzes, Friday Breakfast Rolls and a Team Piggybank Challenge. The funds raised by Aberdeen Asset Management, combined with the efforts of 16 other leading Scottish organisations, reached a grand total of £150,703.

Constance Barelle, one of the Aberdeen Asset Management apprentices, said:

“This whole experience has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding one for the whole team. To raise that much money in such a short space of time has been a real challenge, so we are really proud to have won this award and helped contribute to a fantastic total going to a great charity.”

The money raised will go towards supporting the work of Children 1st across Scotland. Children 1st provides practical advice and support to families in tough times and, when the worst happens, supports the survivors of abuse, neglect and other traumatic events in childhood to recover.

Lynn Brown, Apprentice Advisor at Aberdeen Asset Management, said:

“This challenge has been a great opportunity for the apprentices to work together towards a common goal.  They raised an amazing amount in such a short time and everyone in the office is very proud of their achievement”

Dragons’ Glen is a unique opportunity for companies to engage employees and support them to develop a range of skills. 92% of participants report an improvement in communication and 95% an improvement in entrepreneurship.

Barbara Kidd, Director of Fundraising for Children 1st said:

“The amount raised by Dragons’ Glen is phenomenal – enough to provide six months of support for 250 children and families who need help to overcome abuse or make homes safer for children. We could not do this work without our corporate partners.”

Since its launch in 2012, Dragons’ Glen has raised over £280,000. It continues to grow in popularity and now takes part in five cities across Scotland: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. Children 1st is now accepting entries for the 2016-17 challenge, which starts in September.

To find out more about Dragons’ Glen, please visit www.children1st.org.uk/dragons-glen

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Feb 292016

Lesley Mitchell (centre right) defies the odds to drive off the top prize in a UK wide draw organised by hotel group Village Hotels.

With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

Lesley Mitchell has never won a prize in a competition before. So when her name was selected to win a Mini Cooper in a UK wide draw that attracted tens of thousands of entries she simply could not believe it – and little wonder. Statistics show she had a greater chance of scoring a hole in one at golf or being injured by a firework than winning the brand new motor.

Lesley’s ticket was selected from more than 100,000 entries to the Village Hotel Club’s promotion to win a dream car.

The chance of winning a striking Mini One 1.2 Petrol attracted a massive swell of interest from revellers at each of the hotel group’s 28 hotels across the UK, from Aberdeen to Bournemouth,  Edinburgh to Cardiff, and Glasgow to Blackpool.

When Village Hotels called Lesley by phone to break the fantastic news that she had won the car – worth £14,000 – she thought it was a workmate playing a prank. She and her colleagues had entered the draw while enjoying their office Christmas lunch at the Village Hotel in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, but none of them expected to be among the prize winners.

“When I got the call saying I had won I just automatically assumed it was some kind of hoax,” explains Lesley.

“We all entered the draw but never in a million years did I expect to win – I thought this can’t be right.

“It was a total shock as I have never won anything before, but after several conversations and emails from Lynn Fraser at the Village Hotel Group I realised it was true, it was a lovely surprise. To have won dinner, or a weekend break, would have been really nice but to win the Mini is the icing on the cake.”

The Mini prize looks set to bring maximum benefits for Lesley, who lives in Insch, Aberdeenshire, and is company secretary and office administrator for a chemical business in Bucksburn.

“Many years ago, in my youth, I had a Mini and this will be a lovely run-around,” Lesley continued.

“I’m calling this my ‘Mini Me’ and it will be my weekend car.

“I moved house last year and had the perfect Christmas in my new home, and then to find out I had won a car was just lovely. “

Lynn Fraser from Village Hotels said:

“It was wonderful to break the news to Lesley that her ticket had been picked at random as the winner of our nationwide draw which attracted over 100,000 entries from customers at our hotels the length and breadth of Britain.

“It’s not every day you hear that you have won a prize, let alone won a Mini, so it’s hardly surprising that Lesley was rather taken aback by her good news and that it took some time to sink in.

“It’s a wonderful car and everyone at Village Hotels hopes Lesley really enjoys her new driving experience.”

Village Hotels has 28 hotels located in towns and cities across the UK, boasting modern and friendly accommodation and excellent facilities. For more information, visit https://www.village-hotels.co.uk/



Feb 252016

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.

!cid_09815cd1948a4527a96e35e13ba3e785@Open-XchangeFred the Aberdeen Voice editor is furious that we didn’t win a single award at the North Press ball thingy that Sarah Malone went to earlier this month, and he’s making some changes around here. We’re going to follow Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s lead, and start having a smart, successful newpaper. In that spirit, before we get to this week’s definitions, just a few words.

I am pleased to announce the Old Susannah column now has an official spokesperson. Buff McCracker, pictured, is our newest hiring. He is last year’s winner of the ‘Face of Moneymusk’ competition.

Buff has a high school diploma (nearly) and has worked as a personal fitness trainer at ‘Fancy a Kip?’ Lodge. Personal trainers from Kip Lodge have gone on to get into all sorts of fascinating positions, and I am sure Buff will do the same.

I am sure you will welcome him to the column, and in his role as spokesperson, you will look forward to hearing his in-depth analysis of local, national and world socio-political issues of the day.

Reader Offer: 

Bottle OpenerThis splendid bottle opener is perfect for those bottles of expensive wine you drink after a hard day editing the paper.

Sprinting home in your Mazarati, no doubt you want to see your delightful wife greet you at the door with glasses, a bottle, and this exclusive bottle opener.

Not sold in stores.


CRW_0279Reader Travel Offer: 

7 night tour of Mintlaw’s finest combine harvesters

Join like-minded readers on this breathtaking tour of tractors in Mintlaw.

We start our trip on the A96 in a bus, and will stop at some of the finest B&Bs in the area, while looking at fields of rapeseed, and what kinds of farm vehicles we can spot from the bus.

Meals not included.

£1,999 per person.

Showbiz Exclusive!  Local sleaze merchant shares lift for 2 minutes in Los Angeles with Rock god David Grohl.

Tony Cockroach says he’s met every A-List celebrity there is, possibly even Sarah Malone. Gosh I’m jealous. He’s been in the same lift as David Grohl! Result!!!! Did they have a conversation? No, but. Did they have anything in common? No, but. Was Grohl impressed that the man in the lift was from Aberdeen AND owned strip joints? No.

Singha SteveBut he was from Aberdeen, and he was in the same lift as David Grohl.

Full story and pictures on pages 2,3,4,5 and 27.

(Old Susannah was formally introduced to Mr Grohl on the occasion of the first ever Foo Fighters UK show, at the Brixton Academy, quite a while ago. He was cool. Old Susannah was – until now – being cool by not making a big deal of it. But we did briefly speak. In today’s modern newsroom, clearly this is big stuff by EE standards. So now you know. And no, I wasn’t so crass as to start photographing or filming the man).

Read more about it here! Really! Tally ho!

Send us your story – sheep on the road?

Did your daughter come in 7th place in a spelling competition? Did you get your heid stuck in a bin? Did you find the image of Kate Dean in your buttery? Anything like that with pictures – call us and we’ll put it in the next paper. Up to £2 per story paid.

RowiesRollsPancakesthmCompetition! Aberdeen’s Prettiest Rowie!

Send in your Rowie photos, and the most beautiful Rowie will be bronzed, and kept forever as a beautiful keepsake! Your photo with your Rowie will appear in the next issue!

You can vote for your favourite Rowie by calling our special hotline – calls charged £0.99 per minute!

And with that, one or two definitions

Pro Lifers:

Who’s against life? Why no one I know, except for some zombie films, it’s safe to say many people are in favour of living. But the pro-lifers have some ideas they want the rest of us to sign up to, and I thought I’d best get their unbiased, professional advice.

I looked for them at the anti-war demonstration. But they weren’t there.

I tried to find them protesting the nuclear weaponry we’ve stockpiled which would wipe out half the planet. But they weren’t there.

I thought I’d find them helping to save the refugees drowning in the Med, but there was no sign of them there.

I thought they must surely be protesting the death sentences carried out in some countries, but there was no trace.

I thought they would be in the drought-stricken countries trying to feed the starving, but they were not there.

They were at the abortion clinic. They were at the family planning centres. They were at the chemists where women can get the morning after pill.

It’s not the living they want to save. They want to tell women not to have sex. They want to tell people not to use contraception. They want women to bear children whether or not the women are able to look after these children, can afford them, are adult enough to be responsible for new lives. They want the raped women to carry their children.

They don’t want you to do anything that doesn’t adhere to the moral codes they have signed up to, and they want to make you bend to their will. They don’t acknowledge that each and every single pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother. They don’t want you to know that women from prehistory to the current day engaged in family planning by taking herbal medicines to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Pro life? Absolutely! Some might think this lot are a bunch of would be controlling, nosy, women-hating dictators who were not interested in the living whatsoever and hated sex and didn’t want anyone to have any. But they’re just telling us what the right thing to do is, and I’m sure you’ll give their message all the attention it is due. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14210094.display/

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Dec 032015

By Charlie Abel.

Ronnie Watt 11Aberdonian karate students will have great cause to celebrate this week with the news that their very own Ronnie Watt OBE ORS, chief instructor of the NKF (national karate federation) and director of Shotokan for the WKC (world karate confederation) has been awarded a 9th Dan black belt (Kudan). It is believed to be the highest ever Dan grade awarded to an Aberdonian or a Scotsman.

This is a major achievement for Ronnie and for karate in Scotland.

Ronnie Watt’s name is already famous and well respected throughout the city of Aberdeen and the karate world. Being graded a 9th Dan Ronnie joins the elite ranks of the worlds most repected Karate masters.

Obtaining a black belt is very difficult, very few people manage to train hard enough, it takes at least three years and most people give up, perhaps one in a hundred achieve a black belt. Some will go on and get a 2nd Dan or higher. However, it is almost unheard of to achieve a 9th Dan in karate. Very few manage to reach this level, most are Japanese and it takes a lifetime of training.

This is a first for Scottish Shotokan Karate and it’s a great honour for the city having a home grown 9th Dan teaching and training karate, here in Aberdeen, Ronnie’s home town.

The 9th Dan will be presented to Ronnie by the International Shotokan-ryu Karate–do Shihankai (ISKS). The ISKS was set up in 2004 by an international group of world karate masters to protect and maintain the tradition of karate, which they see is sadly being diluted by many outside ‘fashionable’ influences. The ISKS is one of the most respected orders in the world of Karate today.

Karate has been a way of life for Ronnie and his family. He has won many competitions both home and internationally. To date he has trained over 25,000 students in his 50 years, many of them achieving black belt and going on to higher Dan grades, his students are well known for returning from World Championship tournaments laden with medals and golden trophies.

His wife Gail has been indispensible in running Ronnie’s NKF Karate Academy and his children, now adults are also very much following in his footsteps with Son Reeve (5th Dan) and Daughter Roxy (5th Dan) training karate regularly and teaching classes. Grandson Cooper (age 4) has also recently started training, keen to join his grandpa in the dojo.

Ronnie who has trained karate ‘religiously’ as a way of life for 50 years was recently entered into the European Hall of fame for Martial Arts (November 2015).

Ronnie has previously been awarded an OBE from the Queen. In 2010 was recognised by the Emperor of Japan with an Order of the Rising Sun – a very special award rarely given to foreigners. Ronnie joins good company with famous people such as Clint Eastwood, Gustav Eiffel of France, George Takei (Sulu, Helmsman of the Starship enterprise on Star Trek) Bobby Charlton, and ex UK Prime minister Sir John Major.

In 2014, Ronnie was awarded a Commemorative Medal of the Trnava Self-Governing Region (TSGR) of Slovakia by the TSGR’s president, Tibor Mikus for promotion of friendship between Scotland and Slovakia. Ronnie is also a Free Burgess of Guild member of the city of Aberdeen, (Freedom of the city) and is a banner bearer to the Knights of the Most Holy Trinity, who are a heraldic based charity organisation raising funds for good causes.

When asked about his 50 years in Karate and his 9th Dan Ronnie says,

“I’ve just loved karate, being karate. It’s what I’ve always done.

“I see a lot of people and see what it can do for them.  The discipline, the training, the Budo (the way) it changes them. It changed me. Karate improves people. It’s beautiful….My 50 years have not been easy, but I’d do it again tomorrow..”

“ I’m very happy and really humbled to receive the 9th Dan. It’s amazing…I’m still learning!”

Having one of the worlds most decorated and respected Karate masters living and teaching in Aberdeen is a massive advantage to anyone wishing to learn more about Karate-do.

Visit www.karate-scotland.info for more info.

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Nov 122015

NKF 2015 (2)By Charlie Abel.

The National Karate Federation, Kumite Championships for 2015, held in Aberdeen at Cults Academy, were a great success.
The club had been preparing hard for the event that inspired over 200 people from both Shotokan and Wado to take part.

We were very lucky to have Lady Bruce in attendance as a special guest and she was very pleased to be given the honour of presenting the medals and trophies to the winners.

The day before the competition a referee seminar was held, instructed by Chris Davidson, our own WKC referee and chaired by Ronnie Watt.

Senior members of the NKF squad and executive committee took part and became fully qualified NKF officials for NKF competitions. The club would like to thank them for their hard work and for their assistance in running the competition so efficiently on the following day.

Back on the day when they first entered Ronnie’s dojo, many of the competitors never imagined they’d become karate champions.

NKF 2015 (4)The years of hard training have began to pay off, transforming some of the most unlikely people into confident athletes who have now began to realise the benefit of years of hard training. Karate never fails to inspire those of a certain character and will surprise the humblest of people.

Our Aberdeen club is very proud to have run such a successful tournament off it’s own back with no funding other than the entry fee which helped cover the cost of medals and trophies and hall hire.

This success is, yet again, testament to the hard work put in by the members under the expert eye of Ronnie Watt (8th Dan) OBE ORS who would like to thank the NKF members for their continued dedication to training real karate.

Here are the results:

Men’s Kumite

1st John McInnes
2nd Thomas Phillip
3rd Allrezar Bashar
3rd Craig Russell

Women’s Kumite

1st Chloe Calder
2nd Angela Mcintyre
3rd Carole Kelman
3rd Vivienne Grant

Boys 14-17 Kumite

1st Greg Brimmner
2nd Alasdair Russell
3rd Awi MacDonald

Girls 14-17 Kumite

1st Chelsea Stott
2nd Jack A Lynn Walker
3rd Shannon Morrison

Boys 10-13 Brown/Black

1st Benedict Bruce
2nd Ben Porter
3rd Naman
3rd Andrew Bonner

Girls 10-13 Brown/Black

1st Leah Provan
2nd Leila Adair
3rd Ellie Douglas
3rd Stephanie Ross

Boys 10-13 Kyu

1st Jack Mitchell
2nd Ryan Dreczkowski
3rd Lewis Mcintyre
3rd Nicholas Heny

Girls 10-13 Kyu

1st Megan Hunter
2nd Maggie Pirie
3rd Lauren Lesley

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Nov 122015

Tim Martin of Ramboll Oil & Gas, meets pupils involved in Northsound Schools Energy Challenge.

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Pupils from four secondary schools in the north east of Scotland attended the Aberdeen office of global engineering consultancy Ramboll Oil & Gas to take part in a quiz designed to test their knowledge of the energy industry.

Teams from Dyce, Fraserburgh, Inverurie and Hazlehead Academies took part in the quarter finals of the Northsound Energy Schools Challenge, a hotly-contested annual competition for school pupils in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

But those wishing to learn the results of the hard-fought contest will need to tune in to local radio station Northsound One on Sunday, November 29 at 3.30pm.

Ramboll Oil & Gas has sponsored the popular energy industry quiz, run annually by Northsound One, in an effort to encourage young people to consider the energy industry as a career option. This comes after an announcement earlier this year that, despite the challenging economic climate, Ramboll Oil & Gas UK will expand its Aberdeen workforce by up to one third after securing £1.3m worth of new work since the start of the year.

Tim Martin, managing director of Ramboll Oil & Gas UK, says,

“At a time when other firms may not be looking to hire, we are in the very fortunate position to be looking towards expansion. There are still a great many opportunities for those wishing to enter the industry.

“The energy industry offers very rewarding career prospects, and we are delighted to be involved in a competition that fosters an interest in the industry amongst school pupils. Those competing in the Northsound Energy Schools Challenge are the future of the energy industry, and everything should be done to encourage their passion and enthusiasm.

“We were incredibly impressed by the knowledge and professionalism of all of the teams, and regardless of who is the overall winner of the competition I am confident that these pupils have long and successful careers in the energy industry ahead of them.”

The Northsound Energy Schools Challenge is broadcast on Northsound One every Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm.

Ramboll Oil & Gas is a business unit within the Ramboll Group. With more than four decades of experience, the company is a well-established, independent and highly regarded provider of offshore and onshore engineering consultancy services for the oil and gas industry. Today, Ramboll Oil & Gas has offices in the USA, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, India, Denmark, Norway and UK, and employs around 900 specialists.

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Nov 102015

Ronnie Watt and Alain Verbeek By Charlie Abel.

Ronnie Watt’s National Karate Federation have returned from Berk, France where an international open competition was held on the 25th of October 2015.
The competition was hosted by French instructor Alain Verbeek (6th Dan).
Alain’s club trains in the doctrines of Alain’s late instructor, Taiji Kase (9th Dan). Kase is a widely respected Japanese Karate legend.

Our Aberdeen based NKF team did exceptionally well during the competition returning with 4 international medals against some stiff competition which included 1 Gold and 3 Silver – Nissara Kirk taking the Gold and 2 Bronze, and John McInnes taking a Silver.

There were 150 competitors in all so Ronnie and his squad can hold their heads high.

A special training course was held the day before the competition. Participants in the course enjoyed 6 hours of karate training the day before the competition from 4 different karate masters. Participants travelled from around Europe to reach Berck for this rare opportunity with competitors from Germany, Austria, Scotland, France and many from Brittany.

KarateFranceShihan Ronnie Watt (8th Dan) from Aberdeen focused on speed technique to score points in kumite. Sensei Alain Verbeek  (6th dan) demonstrated Kase-ha sparring tactics, using various knife hand attacks in response to an attacker. Sensei Christian Le Romancer (Brittany) demonstrated bunkai and emphasised the importance of Kime (power, focus).

Sensei Dieter Langer (3rd Dan) from Germany demonstrated the structures behind the kata and the importance of form over strength.

Also present was the wife and daughter of Taiji Kase. They will soon publish a much anticipated book detailing the life and legend that was Taiji Kase. Kase was also a frequent visitor to Aberdeen and a close friend of Ronnie Watt.

Alain Verbeek has studied Karate for over 45 years and in this time Ronnie and Alain have become great friends.

At the end of the festival and competition Alain was surprised to receive a Samurai SHOGUN award for his service to karate and promotion of friendship between Scotland and France. The award was given after the closing ceremony of the competition in front of many guests and VIP’s including Chieko Kase (wife) and Sachiko Kase (daughter), the Mayor of Berk and the ambassador of Japan in France, Yoichi Suzuki.

The Auld Alliance is still strong. The NKF would like to thank the French families that hosted the NKF squad and for showing them such great hospitality.


After the tournament Ronnie and his NKF squad were invited to the Berck town hall to be treated to a special civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Berck, a senior MP and other VIPs from the area.

Ronnie was presented with a medal by the Mayor of Berk for promoting friendship and culture between France and Scotland through Karate.

Ronnie was also presented with a very special gift, from the people of Inverness, France.

This was an unexploded world war one shell (pictured right), encased in a special hand made box.

It had been fired into the area where the Scottish soldiers had fought, many giving their lives to fight for the freedom of France in the Great War, 1915.

Ronnie said he was “deeply moved” by this special gift.

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