Alan Campbell Sensei Course & Dan Grading Results

We held a special course with the Head of JKS England on Sunday 8th September And it was one of the best attended courses we have held all year. Over 100 Students turned up to train with Alan Campbell Sensei and Paul Wolstencroft Sensei. Many also stayed back to support and encourage those going for Dan Grading immediately after.

Neil Stringer from JKS Leyland also supported the event and trained super hard. The groups was split into two sections, Dan grades and Kyu grades.Alan Sensei taught Kakyoku Shodan to the Kyu grades and Kakyoko Nidan to the Dan grades. Paul Sensei taught katas Junro Nidan, Junro Sandan and Kata Chinte and finished the section with Kumite.

Both sections were really enjoyable and we hope you all learned something and feel you have plenty of room to improve. I for one felt inspired to practise and remember Kakyoku Nidan and have been covering that and Kata Chinte in my own training this week.  Thank you all for the attendance and effort and thanks to both instructors who delivered interesting and challenging courses.

To see the photographs taken at the course you can click the link below:

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The photographs are fab. Thank you to Paul Towler for taking them.

A JKS Dan Grading immediately followed and we had 33 Red Tigers in total attempted their Shodan or Nidan.
We are pleased to report that the pass rate was excellent once again (81% successful candidates) and all the students who took part tried the absolute best they could and should feel proud of themselves for being brave enough to put their Karate up for judgement.

Plenty of students and their families went home very happy and for others it was a disappointing afternoon. We now need to stick together as a group and help those who might need that little bit extra work to make sure that they are successful next time around. There were 5 students put forward who had previously attempted their grading, 4 of whom went onto achieve their Black Belt. They never gave up and neither should you.

As humiliating and crushing as it feels to be told you didn’t meet the standard or you aren’t quite meeting your potential, you must still respect the decision that’s been made and do everything you can to succeed next time. Maybe your nerves got the better of you, maybe you had an off day, these things happen to best of us, please don’t allow yourself to make excuses. Show the examiners that you are a strong, resilient character and be so much better next time. To give up now would be a terrible shame and a decision you would most certainly regret in the future. Dust yourself off and crack on with finishing what you started. There’s a Dan Grading after the JKS Christmas Course, set this as your goal and start working towards it now.

I have already updated the Black Belt Roll of Honour and added those who were successful. Below I’ll write a little about each person who graded but I always like to remind everyone that Shodan simply means ‘beginners level’. You have reached the grade where the learning really begins. You have trained for many years to reach this point and again we find that sometimes people reach this milestone only to stop their Karate journey. Your learning never stops. A black belt should never be the end.

Continue to seek knowledge, train your body and strive for perfection. There’s always somebody to look up to and goals that you can achieve. Maybe you want to compete, maybe you would like to help others follow your footsteps. Maybe you’d like to train in Japan, maybe you just want to keep fit and healthy and be able to defend yourself should you ever need to. Maybe you want to be a Nidan or a Sandan. The opportunities are there for everyone. There is so much to learn – 26 Shotokan Kata’s in fact plus 5 Junro’s and now 3 Kakyoku’s plus many more! You have studied 8 (14 if you successfully attempted Nidan). Are you a kumite machine or is your kumite just ok???

As long as you continue to enjoy your training, there’s still so much to learn and much room for improvement even for me 23 years into my training!

It’s important that you carry on your journey and don’t become one of those people (and believe me there are PLENTY of names on that roll of honour who WERE awesomely talented people) but now just USED to do karate. Karate is like hot water, take it off the boil and it’ll go cold. Meaning, stop training and you’ll wish you hadn’t!


Congratulations to the following new Shodan 1st Dan Black Belts:

Alex Ryan – What a talent, Alex’s journey has been a whirwind, he’s come so far in a relatively short space of time and he has reached an excellent standard. His grading performance was superb and more improtantly he’s a lovely lad who still has so much more to offer. He’s a fab Cadet Leader at Dukinfield and Denton and he made us all really proud! Alex’s kumite/kicking ability is exceptionally high level so everyone better watch out. A mini Mr Cherry. Well done, great work young man.

Zak Gould – Zak may be little but his talent is very big! He works so hard, almost to the point of working too hard. He’s very tough on himself and is a perfectionist. This is why he will now make such a fantastic black belt. He has a sweet little angel face but showed that he can look after himself no problem. Brilliant grading Zak, you can have more confidence now as the result was never really in doubt! Well done.

Sonny Millington – Second time around for Sonny and he was taking no chances. His kumite was really impressive. He was super unlucky not to pass fully the first time but he has shown great strength in character and absolutely smashed his grading at the second attempt. We are delighted for you Sonny and so pleased that you carried on, you’ll make a fantastic Black Belt, well done superstar!

Lola Girault – What to say about Lola in just a few lines??? She is just top class and a dream to teach. Lola is EVERYTHING! She’s hard working, committed, diligent, polite, extremely well mannered, sweet and kind to others, a perfectionist, a fierce competitor, exceptionally talented, I could just go on and on. She was on fire at the grading and 1 million percent focused. Student of the year 2019 candidate???  In my opinion, Lola just put herself at the top of the list! Keep up the wonderful work.

Charlie Eyre – I love Charlie Eyre, the turnaround in this young man has been inspirational. He’s always been committed and enjoyed his karate but after being asked to retake a grading, Charlie has been everything you’d want in a student and more. He trains so hard and works on everything you ask him to. A very determined, very committed and very talented young man who is everything a black belt should be. Well done, you did brilliantly.

Christopher Lysaght – Yesssss Christopher, great performance at grading and he is just beginning to meet his enormous potential. Christopher is fantastic to teach, he trains twice a week every week without fail and 99% of the time works hard. I let him know if he doesn’t, haha! I am so pleased for Christopher as he’s always been pretty shy. He really showed off how great his karate is on Sunday and thoroughly deserved to pass. Niahm next. Well done and keep it up.

Corey Stevens – So pleased for Corey to have passed at his 2nd attempt. I was a bit a shock first time round as Corey has always been a fab student. He’s continued to train hard though and get on with it where it counts and that is in the dojo. He’s clearly been working hard with Callum Sensei and was so much better this time. Congratulations Corey, you were fantastic. Keep up the excellent work, you’ve made us all very proud.

Kai Foley – This grading was Kai’s third attempt at Black Belt and we are delighted to report that he passed. Perhaps the biggest congratulations and the loudest cheer of the day deserves to go to this super-determined and resilient young man. Kai has super strong karate and we could really tell that he has worked hard to improve and tidy everything up, just like he’d been asked to. You are a fine example of what can be achieved when you simply refuse to give up. You’re an inspiration to us all and we are very proud.

Abby Fryer – Abby is a wonderfully talented young lady who started quite a few years ago in Reddish. I remember thinking the first time I saw her, this girls gonna go all the way and now I’m lucky enough to teach her! And she’s every bit as good as I thought she would be. She was superb on the grading day and didn’t put a foot wrong. Her karate is excellent in all areas and her kicks are awesome. I feel like there is still so much more to come from you so keep up the great work missus.

Daisy Parton – Miss Daisy P earned her Black Belt at last! She’s been training since she was 6 years old and 7 years later (and a whole lot of chatting and being told off) she’s done it. Her standard was extremely high and her karate has become very strong, she trains hard and has remained very dedicated. After a few wobbles in the classes coming up to grading she put in an excellent performance and passed in impressive style. We are all very pleased for you Daisy, as much as you drive us mad (especially me), we are really proud of you!

William Towler – Excellent grading from an excellent student. William is a very hardworking and diligent student. He always listens to what is being taught and tries extremely hard to perfect everything you ask him to. His karate is really tidy and pretty strong. He lacks confidence for some reason but hopefully this will give him a much needed boost and he will start to believe in himself the way the rest of us around him do. William, you are fab. Well done.

Matthew McCabe – Matthew must be one of our longest serving students in the Timperley area. He’s watched people he’s started with, grade to Shodan and even Nidan whilst he’s been quietly plugging away. Matthew always tries his best and has reached a good standard. After leaving the last grading very disappointed he’s improved tremendously and has at last achieved his goal. A lesson to us all in patience and perseverance. Congratulations Matthew, keep up the fantastic effort.

Gina Farrance – What a student. Gina has always been very good at karate but since she got her 1st Kyu she has been 100% focused on being the very best she can be on the grading day and she certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a faultless performance and she made it look effortless. Everything went well from the kihon to the katas to the kumite. Gina proved that she is every bit as awesome as we expected her to be! A mini-Sensei Callum I think and that is a VERY good thing! Another SOY candidate? I think certainly so.

Ellen Conyard – This was the best I have ever seen Ellen train. She was focused, worked hard and showed a high level of skill. Her kumite in particular was very impressive. She absolutely went for it and you could tell she was  100% ready for anything! Her combinations were much improved and she did well in the kata section. A fantastic overall performance from a lovely young lady. Well done Ellen, we are so pleased for you and it was wonderful that both you and your Dad shared this experience together and were both successful. A special memory for years to come.

Arrvin Singh – Well this one was a long time coming! I have been looking forward to seeing Arrvin go for his Black belt for many years and here we are. He was nothing short of exceptional and certainly didn’t disappoint me. What a karate-ka. He makes something that is so very hard, look so very easy. That is the sign of an outstanding student and Arrvin is one of the best. Very underated, very humble but so, so good. Well done you absolute legend. I’m a lifelong fan.

Coral Gavaghan – A very solid performance from this excellent all-rounder. Coral has no weak areas in her karate. Her combinations, Katas and Kumite were all a very high standard and she has got her black belt is super quick time after reaching a high level when she was younger. Coral is very committed and always works hard in class. She’s a fantastic Assistant to Catherine Sensei and sets a great example to those she trains with and especially her lovely son Mickey who I’m sure will be following in her footsteps very soon! You’ll have to be every bit as good as Mum now!!!!

Andrew Matanle – Andy is an awesome student, he trains really hard, is always enthusiastic, he listens, learns and corrects and has reached a very high standard. I’m sure that he’ll have impressed everyone who was watching with his sharp combinations, excellent katas and explosive kumite. I’m so chuffed he got his Black Belt and I’m sure Jo Sensei and Xander are really proud of how well he did. We are looking forward to seeing your student of the year demo for sure. What a student, what an amazing karate family!!!! Xander next please!!!!

Mhairi (Jade) Rigby –  Jade Sensei put in a solid performance at grading and finally achieved her goal of Black belt.  Jade Sensei has had a longer journey than most with her training often hampered/interrupted with health problems but she has persisted over the years and continued to work hard and believe in herself. She showed she has good technique in the kata and combinations sections and there has been good progress in her kumite. She’s a fab Instructor and will hopefully be able to relax now she has reached her goal. Congratulations on your hard earned and well deserved Black belt –  Simon’s turn next!!!

Helen Dolan – From white to black belt in super quick time. Helen Sensei is not only a fab Instructor, she is an excellent student. Everything you’d want to teach. She gets on with it, is so eager to learn and corrects everything you ask her to. The improvement she has made between 3rd Kyu and black belt really is immeasurable. This is down to her dedication and work ethic. It really is second to none. She’s in the dojo almost every night of the week, putting the sweat and the hours in, getting better and better. An awesome grading from an awesome lady. Liam next!!! And I hope John Sensei has been heaping on the well deserved praise this week. Well done.

Scott Whalley – Great grading from Scott who was certainly the dark horse! Who knew that he was John Rambo dressed up as Scott Whalley all this time! Seriously though, he did really well. His combinations were the best I’d ever seen them and he just totally went for it in his kumite. He is the third Whalley Black Belt as he follows in the footsteps of both Hannah (who is a Nidan) and Lily who graded to Shodan last year. This is what it’s all about. Families achieving goals together as part of the Red Tiger family! Great work Scott well done.

Louise Hopkinson – Never before and never again will we see a face so surprised as Louise’s when Alan Sensei called her name and said ‘Pass Shodan’. It was the perfect mix of shock and utter delight. I will never forget it! Bless Louise she has been so nervous as the grading has crept closer and closer but she shouldn’t doubt herself because she tries the best that she can, is very dedicated and more than meets her potential. Her combinations were good, her katas have improved considerably and she actually looked quite confident in the kumite for a change and landed some good techniques. Well done Louise, I wonder how long it will take to sink in?

Brendan Conyard –  I am so pleased to see that Brendan got his Black Belt as he is very dedicated to his training indeed. He trains 3 times a week every week and has tried so hard. He has improved significantly and put in a solid performance at the grading. He takes every opportunity he can to get better and learn and is a fantastic Assistant Instructor. To get it at the same time as Ellen must have been really special. Well done Brendan, keep up the great work.


Nidan – 2nd Dan Black Belts

Aurelie Girault – Lily Sensei is a formidable karateka, but you’d never know it until you see her in the gi and black belt. She is quiet, humble and unassuming. But get those mitts and pads on and she is nails! A really impressive grading from Lily and how wonderful it is that she can say she has graded at the same time as both of her children. 1st Dan with the awesome Kyle and 2nd Dan with beautiful Lola! I love everything about your karate, it is technically sound, strong and would most definitely work outside. I think there is still more to come. Nidan is a fantastic achievement indeed, you are a highly valued Instructor who is passing on excellent karate. Well done. Kyle next!!!

Jaime Pratley – There were a few stand out performances on the day and Jaime may have arguably been number 1! You know that the grading is going to go well when you get picked out in the course for being super and Jaime’s day just went from good to great. He set his intention during the combinations, nobody and nothing was going to stop him getting that Nidan and we as examiners can just see that mindset from the start. He was having it. And he deserved it. His karate is crazy good. That’s why he is Student of the Year, but his confidence and class is something which cannot be taught. He’s a cut above but he’s still absolutely lovely at the same time. There’s so much more to come from Jaime and he’s still so young. I for one look forward to watching your karate grow and grow for many more years. You are AWESOME and we are all proud (especially your Mum and Dad!).

Jake Gould – What a student. Jake Gould is utterly brilliant. There are no weak areas in his karate whatsoever, he is perhaps one of the most naturally talented students I have ever seen and I have seen thousands and thousands. You teach him something, he can do it instantly, do it well and remember it! He’s well over six foot and still at High School, for such a tall lad, his katas are ridiculously good. His kumite – even better. He has extremely fast hands but once he starts working those legs, the rest of us will have no chance. Jake may have got his Nidan in impressive style, but again I feel he still has plenty of room to improve and so much more to offer. We are so happy to have both Gould Brothers training here with us, they are awesome and will be even better in the future if they keep up the great work and carry on enjoying what they are doing.

Jo Sysum – Have we saved the best till last???? Jo Sensei is certainly one of them. What beautiful karate. There is a harmony to it, which we are all supposed to try to achieve. It’s very difficult and most never ever manage it. Jo Sensei has got it and doesn’t even know it. She, like Lily is another lovely lady who you’d never know is beast in the dojo. I particularly like her Katas but she’s no slouch in the kumite. She can pick off opponents no problem whatsoever! There is something relaxing about watching Jo’s karate and it’s getting harder and harder to help her improve. She’ll continue to try though as she has the right mindset of a karateka. Never satisfied with where she’s up to and always eager and enthusiastic to learn and pass it onto her students. Your Nidan is so very well deserved and we are so proud to have you on our Instructor team – well done. I’m so relived that both you and Andy passed together. Amazing.

We should close by saying a huge thank you to the parents, friends, husbands and wives. You will never know just how important your role has been in accomplishing these grades and the part you play in the karate journey as a whole. We have so many parents who travel for miles and miles to get their children the best training possible and give them the greatest chance of success. You not only support them physically by taking them to class, you enable them financially, often sacrificing your own needs to allow your loved ones to achieve these grades. Most importantly you support them emotionally, by making sure that they continue to push themselves and don’t quit when the going gets tough. None of this would be possible without you guys and I mean it sincerely when I say thank you all.

Thanks to all the Instructors who’ve guided these students along the way and inspired them to reach Black Belt. It is something that will bond you together forever. Thanks to all the seniors who have been teaching instead of training on Monday evenings. Your input and effort is valued by all. Our team is the BEST.

As good as it feels today have achieved your grade, the learning never stops. To remain good at karate you must continue to train and remain thirsty for knowledge. You must carry on trying to be the best you can be.

Honour your gift, continue to enjoy your karate and above all – inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

I’ll save the last few words for those who left feeling disappointed on Sunday, because we know, your day will come. So for Archie, Finlay, Jonty, Isabel, Thomas, Gary P and Gary M, I am looking forward to writing about you all and how you have reached your next grade. Please continue to work hard and don’t give up. You all have what it takes, you would have never made it this far if you were quitters so please don’t start now. Your belts, certificates and write ups are waiting for you. If Black belts and Nidans were easy to get, everyone would have one. It’s hard and you are all nearly there.

The best thing about our Club is that we experience these things as one big family. We pull together and look after one another no matter what. We may all train in different classes and have different Instructors, but the wonderful support network and genuine care for one another is felt right across the Club. It is isn’t just the students and Sensei’s who look out for one another, its the parents and supporters who experience it all right alongside us. They matter more than they will ever know.

Talk to your Instructor or your fellow students – ask for help. So many people are rooting for you and want to see you succeed. Everyone is behind you, willing you to keep on going and finish what you have started.

The hurt and upset will last only a few days, maybe weeks, then it will pass. But when you get your next opportunity to prove yourself and you’ve worked on what you’ve been asked to, that Shodan/Nidan lasts a lifetime. I’ve never met a person who has given up at 1st Kyu who hasn’t regretted it.