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HKDI Cheltenham Karate

Meet the team

Otagai no sonchō - お互いの尊重 - respect each other

Natalie Bottcher Karate

Hey There,
        I'm Natalie Böttcher 

I have a great passion for learning karate as well as sharing my experiences. When I'm not training or competing you'll find me at different karate seminars which are a fantastic opportunity for me to get feedback and develop personally. In fact, my karate book is running out of pages due to the countless seminars and competitions I have been to. 

My Story

I started my karate journey in 1996 when I trained at my local Goju-Ryu karate club. I trained 4 times a week and was soon invited to compete at regional and later national competitions where I progressed to the national squad in Slovakia. The combination of my strict training regime and regular competitions contributed to many fantastic experiences and great successes.

When work took over, I remained training at different clubs in Europe. I settled in Gloucestershire and since then I have been training with many fantastic instructors across the UK all of whom have something great to offer. I train with everyone and anyone and I often travel to seminars, squad sessions and competitions all across the country, you can follow my karate travels here.

I am an active member of the HDKI GB squad team competing in both Kata and Kumite where I have also succeeded many times in the national and international competitions, with my recent achievements being a gold medal at the JSKA European Championships 2022, a bronze medal at the WUKF World Championships 2023, and a silver medal at the AMA International Karate Championships 2024.

I gained my Nidan (2nd dan) under Scott Langley, Bob Rhodes, Ricardo Galina, Simon Bligh and Paul Uren Senseis and I continue to further my own training under senior HDKI instructors.

I am fully insured and enhanced DBS checked, I have completed sports first aid course, which I renew regularly, to ensure that the dojo is a safe place to practise karate for everyone. I am a licensed instructor and have completed several coaching courses which contributed greatly to my own development and success, as well as successes of other karate-ka whom I teach and try to bring out the absolute best in each and every one of them. As the club's designated safeguarding lead I firmly believe that martial arts training presents a positive opportunity for everybody to learn self defence, improve self confidence and develop as an individual. 

Now I don't do karate all the time!! I also have a family whom I love to spend time with. As a mother, I understand that we all have different needs and learn at different paces, we all have our good days and we sometimes have bad days too. My children come to karate with me, it helps build their confidence, discipline, focus and respect towards others. Karate is our way of life and we always seek to improve. My great eye for detail is well and truly applied in karate lessons, as well as, at work. I work for a local firm of accountants and run a certified bookkeeping practice where I work with local businesses and individuals.

I believe that skyscrapers can be built on strong foundations. You will find that I don't rush anyone to progress quickly, instead, I encourage mindful training at everyone's own pace with plenty of guidance and motivation.

Maryse Degbedni Karate

Hi there,
        I'm Maryse


My Karate journey started with Wado-ryu style when I was 5 years old. As an adult, I started training again in Shotokan, in France and in England. 

I love travelling to various seminars and train with different instructors. 

Besides Karate, I support the charity FairFight that empowers young girls through martial arts, in deprived areas in Zambia and Zimbabwe. FairFight supports them by providing scholarship and mentorship.


I’ve been a mentor for 3 years. My next adventure to Africa is coming up this December and I can’t wait to see my mentee again and our partners!

Shaun_karate 1.jpg

Hi there,
        I'm Shaun

started my martial arts career aged 4 when, finally old enough, I joined other family members into the local Judo club in Brighton. I was the youngest yellow belt in the UK and trained weekly for a number of years until the club closed. Then, fast forward to later in life and I took up Shotokan karate with my daughter, Eliza. We both enjoy training hard at Sonchō club and continue the tradition of training alongside family members. It’s great to see that the club has many parent/child members which adds to the real sense of community.

Alongside karate, I enjoy trail running having completed 20+ marathons and ultra marathons – the longest being 100km (14 hours of joy!). I also enjoy competing in multi-sport events including triathlon and duathlon, having represented Team GB on a number of occasions, most recently in the 2023 European duathlon championships in Venice.

Outside of sport, I run Cotswolds Therapy as a practicing psychotherapist and I am also a business transformation consultant and chauffeur to my two daughters.

HDKI Cheltenham
More team members will be added soon
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