Currently representing Great-Britain, Karateka black belt 2nd Dan Harrison Chapman is one of the athletes who've reached their goal on MAKEACHAMP.
Beyond Karate, we were amazed to see his ability to communicate and create a great online presence as an athlete. He has built his website, draws 16500 page views, blogs regularly, has more than 500 likes on his Facebook page, and also has more than 200 followers on Twitter. This has attracted many sponsors in sports & fitness.
And Harrison is only 16 years old!
As such, we think Harrison represents a new generation of athletes who are able get great branding, sponsorship, funding, and later on will be able to get contributors in a future crowdfunding campaign. So if you are looking for ways on how to create your site, or maintaining your Facebook page, read on how Harrison did it.
Hi. Can you present yourself? Why the dedication to Karate?
Hi I am Harrison Chapman I am 16 years old, I live in Birmingham UK.
My brother Nico started karate off about 15 years ago. He was at school and got a question RIGHT but a lot of the kids laughed. My mom and dad looked for something to boost his confidence and he joined GKR Karate. He is now a 3rd Dan and training in Australia at the moment. After quite a few years, I learnt a lot of the katas, joined and entered my first tournament, and around 4 weeks later, I won double gold and still training hard 8 years later. I am a 2nd Dan at the moment.
What's your routine as a karateka?
Well I used to attend classes 4 times a week, overtime I have reduced this to a couple a senior training class and a squad class. This doesn’t mean I am not ‘training’ as such as I am older now: I have decided that fitness and health is all part of the development, so I attend my local gym, Fitforfree, 4 times a week (I’m sponsored by them too). I work on my cardio as well as building my strength and stamina.
I do bag work and ladder work at home too. I train in Liverpool once a month with part of the GB Team and I get myself on external seminars whenever possible. I am training with Junior Lefevre, Luigi Busa and Jesse Enkamp. I have another seminar booked with Rafael Aghayev. This year which should be a fantastic experience!
Do you have any fitness or karate tips you want to share?
Fitness – just keep fit, work on speed and agility. I have worked on my strength and speed over the past few years, simply because as I have progressed the more sweeps etc. come into play. I love my agility ladder! I am lucky enough to be sponsored by Bodyshocker sport supplements
For the younger beginners I would say just enjoy it, wearing a Gi is very strange to begin but will become a normal piece of clothing and you will meet and gain so many friend over time. You will feel so much out of place and feel awkward but it’s the same for every beginner but soon that will pass, but we all feel that way learning a new kata is a good example, we are always learning.
You've got a great online presence, starting from your website harrisonchapmankarate.com . Can you share with us how you did it? Any tips for athletes who want to have their website as well?
I was very luck with this, I started with a basic online ‘make your’ webpage company, the site was very basic back then.
I wasn’t aware that one of my training colleague from squad training was a developer. Mark Pierce at Withoutmayo took the basics and transformed it. He is always there for help and advice and runs it all off his servers for me.
I suppose you could say look around don’t go for the cheapest or obvious choice, do some homework first, I was very lucky
You update your blog quite often. How do you manage that? Many athletes, even world champions, feel either they do not know how to write or they think they don't have anything interesting to say.
I try to update it regularly, I tend to think of what I would like to read, what interests me as most of the people who look at the site are looking at it have very similar interests and goals.
I sometimes throw the idea onto my karate facebook page to get an idea of its worth adding. Sometimes I feel it maybe too much, but the stats say its working!
Did the website help you get new sponsors, and if yes how?
I had gained my main 3 sponsors before the website was developed through me emailing the companies and giving them a breakdown about me and my karate.
As far as the website goes -- I think that the website has helped greatly, it’s pretty new, only been going since mid-November 2014. I feel that when I add details of the site new sponsors it has certainly helped. It gives them something to look at, to present further up the line to the people who make the decisions. I have a few companies who are monitoring progress, others have my details ready to present to their board members and even get free samples sent to me, so something is working. The stats to date are not too bad either -- over 4700 sessions, 2600 users and over 16500 page views
I have had a lot of guidance from Jesse Enkamp too. His ideas and approach are inspirational.
We also saw you have a good Facebook fan page, with more than 500 fans and daily updates. How did you manage it?
My Karate page on Facebook s simply a quick communication tool, I use it to advertise my site, drop quick one liners about my training, my progress and general chit chat. It is more like a little version of the website. I run competitions on there too.
I have started a twitter account too, have near 200 followers on there, again one liners to start conversations, and twitter does give me plenty of ideas for website content. I do see a lot of new companies springing up on there too, so an good source to possible sponsors.
Thanks for sharing Harrison. What's next for you? Any insights you would like to share with readers?
Karate wise - I am looking to get into more opens, although I did attend plenty last year, this hopefully will raise my profile but more importantly the experience of competing against new people and different approaches will develop my own skills. I met so many people last year, and made some great friends too, and quite a few are asking me how to get sponsorship etc. etc.
I am going to concentrate on UK tournaments this year, simply as I have one or two big tournaments coming up, so concentrating on those more rather than one huge tournament like I did last year, saying that I do have the GKR World Champs in July.
I was injured for the last 5 months of last year, I had a problem with my ribs and spine causing spasms down my arm, neck and back, I still trained until it got to a point I just had to get physio.
I still won 5 UK titles, I put the success down to the training I had but in before and during the injury, I worked hard to keep it going…never give up, it was an injury that really put me down, but it looks like I’m over that now so things look bright for the coming year.
Website wise, to keep it going as it is, it will develop, move on and keep hopefully keep fresh.
Sponsorship wise – hopefully that will come too, as you can imagine it’s a great help, a boost too, I do find it difficult without it, but I know it’s not everything, my karate would still continue
Keep enjoying your karate, it’s a journey of ups and down, but with HUGE benefits!
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