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Memoirs of a Karate Fighter by Ralph Robb
Target Age: YA / NA / Adult
Blog Tour Dates 25th - 31st March 2021
Publication Date: February 2021
Estimated Page count: 180
Formats Available - Kindle Copy or PDF
Type of Post Available - Reviews, guest posts and Q&As
Swept along by the kung fu craze of the 1970s, as well as the threats of violence from his older cousins and racist thugs, the teenage Ralph Robb joins one of the most successful and toughest karate schools in Britain.
Although he grows up in a comfortable and loving home in a middle class area of Wolverhampton, Ralph strikes out for independence and moves to a flat in a high-rise tower block where a gang National Front supporting skinheads are in residence.
In this coming-of-age tale, Ralph tells it how it was for a young black boy as he gradually matures into adulthood in a town where, back in the 1980s, casual racism and violence were all too common. Together with his cousin and best friend Clinton, he trains diligently and is selected to represent Britain at the Under-21 European karate championships. But as the jingoism grows to fever pitch in the throes of the Falklands war, Ralph finds himself conflicted: he wants to compete at international level but he does not want to wear the emblem of the Union Jack which has become, for him, a symbol of intolerance.
Ralph does win a silver medal but his aspirations as an international competitor are curtailed when he has to take on work as a nightclub doorman to earn extra money so he can make a deposit for a home for him and his new family. But this is not his only concern: his training partner Clinton begins to exhibit behaviour that will eventually require him to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
After extremely rough justice is meted out to a notorious gang of football hooligans by members of the karate club following an unprovoked attack on one of Ralph’s younger cousins - and the fights he has witnessed at the doors of various nightclubs, he begins to question the direction in which his life is heading, as well as his own attitudes to violence. The more he is able to fight the less inclined he is to do so and Ralph decides to take another course: one which will lead him to higher qualifications as an engineer and a role in management at the factory in which he had served as an apprentice.
Following several years as Britain’s top team, the karate club begins its slide into decline and members start to fall away. But they do meet up for one last time at the funeral of Clinton following his suicide at the age of twenty-three. The death of his life-long friend brings about another period of introspection which will lead Ralph to leave karate and Wolverhampton behind for a new life in Canada with his wife and children.
About Ralph Robb
Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England and now lives in Ontario Canada with his wife, cat and dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and a good book. His world is balanced by quality TV, global events, great outdoors and of course his grand-daughter.
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