We would like to say a massive thank you to all the students and Instructors who supported our course and Dan grading.
There was an enormous turnout and we hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed both courses.
The students attempting Dan grading exceeded all expectations with 27 successfully grading to Shodan and 3 grading to Nidan.
This fantastic result is fully deserved because this is the most dedicated group of students we have put forward so far. The vast majority have been training for 5-6 years plus and have been doing extra preparation and classes in the months leading up to the grading.
The course was split into two sections, Dan grades and Kyu grades. The Dan grades spent the first hour with Alan Sensei working on relaxation of the shoulders when punching, smooth and fluid movement through stances, a kumite drill and finished off by working on Kata Sochin.
The Kyu grades spent the first hour with Paul Wolstencroft Sensei working on Kata Bassai Dai and drills to improve certain sections from the Kata. They then did kumite drills with a partner and finished off with a speed and reaction drill blocking and countering a surprise attack.
The two Instructors swapped round for the second hour and the Kyu grades worked with Alan Sensei on relaxing the top half of the body to produce more effective and faster punches. They then worked on different Heain Katas according to their grade and rounded off the section with Kata Bassai Dai.
The Dan grades worked with Paul Sensei and practised a few difficult techniques and sections from Kata Nijushiho. The whole Kata was then performed twice and we finished off with some close quarters kumite.
Both courses went really well and we hope that the students learned a lot and have loads to take away and improve upon.
We would like to thank the Instructors and students who travelled from JKS Chorley and to take part and support our course. Thanks also to Wendy Preston for training with us. It was great to work alongside you all.
The Dan grading immediately followed the course and took a couple of hours to complete. There was a lot of nervous students, parents and Instructors but once the first group had been up and they did so fantastically well, the grading ran pretty smoothly.
Before we report about the students who passed, unfortunately there were a couple who did not quite make it this time around. We want to say well done to both Gary Mahood and James Deane who tried really hard. Gary has been asked to retake the Kata section after making a couple errors due to his nerves and will be much better next time around.
James has been asked to retake the grading and took this disappointing news with maturity of someone way beyond his years. James has really good karate and didn’t quite meet his potential this time around. He can come back stronger and better and will smash it next time around.
It is always disappointing to see anybody not pass and it is extremely upsetting. It can be difficult to find the motivation to pick up the pieces and carry on.Both James and Gary have the full support of the Club behind them and we are very determined to help you refocus and get there. Like Mike Beckwith Sensei said, “if you give up now, it is like doing a marathon and giving up in the last 100 metres!”. Very wise words indeed.
Before we get into the names of those who passed, we just want to say thanks to the parents and supporters who enable these people to do what they do. Thanks to the Mums and Dads who do the driving, giving up their time and paying for the lessons. Thanks to the partners for supporting and keeping them motivated and not moaning when their loved one is out of the house all night or at the weekend.
Thanks to the Instructors who teach these individuals as without you, they just couldn’t do it. Sensei Lorraine, Sensei Nicola, Sensei’s Mike & Leesa and Sensei’s Nic and Steve, Sensei Dean and Sensei Mike Baron, Sensei Jonathon Walls, Sensei Joni and Sensei Callum, Sensei Rick, Sensei Steve, Sensei Emma and Sensei Teresa, Sensei Paul C and Sensei’s Debbie and Dave. Somewhere along the way you have contributed towards these students achievements and you should be very proud. Our team are awesome and without you guys, it just isn’t possible.
Here is a list of our new Shodan Black Belts and a few words about each of them. Congratulations to you all on this monumental achievement. Shodan does not mean that it is time for your karate journey to end. It is the beginning of the next phase of learning and you should continue your karate journey, as there is so much more to enjoy, learn and achieve.
Shodan – 1st Dan Black Belt
- Greg Burton – Well done to a fiercely determined young man who has experienced some great disappointment. Greg has persevered and thoroughly deserves to wear his Black Belt round his waist with pride. Congratulations!
- Ruby Bradshaw – Excellent grading from a super-talented young lady. Ruby is always technically impressive and has worked hard to prepare fully for the grading, attending extra lessons and correcting everything she was asked to. A marvellous performance Ruby, well done.
- Hannah Whalley – Hannah is one of Sensei Nicolas most consistently and impressive students. She always works really hard and you will never see her being lazy or not trying her best. Hannah is super talented, brave and determined and fully deserves her belt.
- Luke Beaumont – Luke has had a long and at times difficult journey, but recently he has been really focused and has started to fulfill his potential. He did brilliantly at the grading and was fully in control of his nerves. Well done Luke and keep up the good work. Mum and sister next!
- Samantha Riley – What a dedicated young lady, so eager to learn and always looking for ways to improve. Samantha did brilliantly at the grading will no doubt continue to train and work hard to go on and achieve more and more with her karate. She is kind and patient with others and is a wonderful role model within the Darwen area. I’m sure she will go on and help others in the area achieve what she has. Mum and Dad next.
- Grace Baron – Exceptional grading from an exceptionally talented young lady. Grace just goes from strength to strength. She has been so focused and determined since she graded to first kyu and has been training hard for this since then. Grace is a Black Belt in every way, there’s no doubt about it and the best thing about her is, there’s still so much potential and so much more to achieve. An extra big thanks to Dad, for all of the hard work he has put in to help you prepare and you Mum for the unwavering love and support. Well done. Super strong candidate for Student of the Year 2015! You have my vote missus!
- Georgia Tipton – What a wonderful young lady who has been through a long and turbulent journey with her karate. She is always working tirelessly hard and trying her best. She was very impressive on the grading day particularly in the combinations section and she really stood out for all the right reasons. The Tipton family cover hundreds of miles to train in the classes where they will be pushed by others. This dedication is admirable and paid of for you all. Well done.
- Annalea Tipton – Another lovely young girl who is just beautiful inside and out. She was sharp and determined to succeed on Saturday and did brilliantly throughout, especially in the Kumite. The Tipton girls are a credit to their parents and wonderful role models within our club. Well done Annelea.
- Steve Tipton – Steve is a top bloke who struggles with his confidence and some areas of his karate but sets a great example for everyone who thinks they ‘can’t’ achieve something. Never any excuses from Steve, he just gets on with it! He really enjoys his karate and you could tell on the grading day. He could have done the kumite section all day long and looked like he was having a great time! You are an inspiration Steve, you won’t see anyone work harder so start believing in yourself now, because we all believe in you, so well done!
- Sophie Withington – In the space of five years Sophie has transformed from a shy little girl, quiet as a mouse who had no confidence whatsoever into a brave and confident young lady who just smashed her Black Belt grading! A magnificent achievement from someone who is still only 10 years old. She thrives under pressure and this is when we see her at her very best. Well done Sophie, you were amazing.
- Craig Withington – Craig is such an all round great student. There are no weak areas in his karate and he performed brilliantly at the grading. He always puts in 100% effort every single time he trains and he is a dream student to teach. Now all four Withingtons have their Black Belt which is awesome stuff, well done.
- Ben Ayre – So strong and so focused, Ben has always shown great potential and has certainly earned his Black Belt. He might not have the tidiest karate, but you would not want to mess with Ben. He is brilliant and fully deserves his grade. Well done.
- Max Walker – Max has always been a super talented student and he did such a great job at the grading, he was really confident and remained composed throughout. Max deserves his Black Belt for the time and effort he has put in over the years and full deserved it on the day. Well done Max.
- Phillip Butterfield – Phil has worked hard over the years and is really dedicated, he was impressive at the grading and has improved his combinations considerably. He fully deserves his black belt and earned it on the day, congratulations to a thoroughly nice bloke.
- Kieran Simpson – Kieran has been training for many years and at last his patience and perseverance has paid off for him and he has earned his Black Belt. He has improved considerably recently. Well done Kieran and keep up the good work.
- Lewis Hughes – Lewis Hughes is a lovely lad and has fantastic karate. Really strong and powerful and always puts in 100% effort. Watching him grow through the grades, we had no doubt that he would make it to Black Belt and did it in excellent style. Well done.
- Ben Clark – Ben Clark has extraordinary ability and dedication to his training. He was magnificent on the day as expected and we have only just begun to scratch the surface of how good Ben could go on to be. What an outstanding performance and a great little character to have around. Well done Ben.
- Louis Standring – Louis is arguably the most improved student we have seen. Over the last two years, he has upped his training, gone to the hardest of classes, attended all the courses he could and earned his place in the grading line up. He did really well on the grading day and could certainly look after himself out on the street. Well done Louis, you did a great job!
- Brandon Clare – Much like Louis, Brandon has recently transformed from an average student to a great student by getting himself out of his comfort zone and doing everything he could to improve. He suffered from crippling confidence issues and shyness in the early years of his training but now we see a completely different young man. Brandon earned his black belt and fully deserves to wear it with pride.
- Zack Collins – Zack has been training for over 7 years and over that time, has been a fantastic character to teach and train alongside. He is a really strong and determined character who has improved his attitude and the way he trains. He did really well on the grading day and there is still room to get even better. Well done Zack.
- Kath Head – What can we say about Kath? What a role model for us all to look up to. She struggles with so much self-doubt and it is hard for us all to understand why? The lady is an amazing inspiration! I’m sure she won’t mind us saying that she is 68 years old and puts herself into the dojo twice a week, every week. No moaning, no excuses, she’ll try everything and is never looking for an easy option. She always tries the very best she can but more than that, she inspires everyone around her. How many other Grandmothers can there be out there doing what she does? She completed the two hour course and then the grading and despite being the most nervous person I have ever seen, she did it. Well done Kath you have made everyone so very proud and melted even the hardest of hearts!
- Karen Howes – Karen did such an amazing job at the grading and has been preparing herself for this day for months and months. All of her hard work paid off and you could see throughout the grading just how much it meant to her. What a wonderful lady and we are thrilled to bits for you. An inspiration for all other ladies in the Club. Well done.
- Joe Ratcliffe – Every so often people walk through the door and you just know instantly that they have something very special indeed. Joe is that student. He is exceptionally talented and was so impressive on the grading day. He makes it look effortless and has been training like a black belt since he very first started. Congratulations Joe, carry on kicking and punching because you can continue to achieve so much more!
- Lee Edwards – Lee is much like Craig in that he is a great all rounder. He trains 3 times a week every week and really enjoys his karate. He has prapered himself really well for the grading and all of his hard work paid off big time. Lee was excellent, composed and confident, a big well done.
- Olivia Levell – Huge congratulations to Olivia who battled through her nerves and performed better than we have ever seen her before to earn her Shodan. She is a lovely young girl who has really started to fulfill that amazing potential and use those long legs to her advantage. She had awesome katas and we were all really impressed with how far she has come. Well done.
- Sam Hindley – Sam started training back in 2007 and has had a longer journey than most. He has been preparing himself for his Black Belt opportunity for a very long time and when it came, he grabbed it with both hands. You did brilliantly Sam and have made your parents really proud. Well done.
- Joseph Ramsden – Joseph Ramsden has always shown the potential to be very special indeed. He has been in and out of periods where it has been hard to motivate himself to train as he is talented at lots of other sports too. But recently he has focused on his karate more than ever and did a great job at the grading. He was so nervous and it took every ounce of bravery for him to get up and even give it a go. Joseph had to dig deep to compose himself and has made his Mum and Dad very proud of him! These Ramsdens are made of tough stuff! Well done Joseph.
Nidan – 2nd Dan Black Belt
Congratulations to the following students who have continued to enjoy and develop their karate since grading to Shodan. If you think that not many people make it to Shodan, a tiny proportion of those will then go on to earn a Nidan. The grade of Nidan is earned over many years of blood, sweat and tears. They have experienced the highs and battled through the lows but have remained dedicated to the sport that they love.
Over the years experience has taught me that it is possible to get a Shodan without loving the art. But Nidan really is the true test of a martial artist. Can you carry on attending classes and trying to better yourself? Can you stay motivated and continue being inspired by others? Do you have what it takes to grade again when the belts don’t come every 4-6 months? Do you really like training without chasing the belts? Is that fire still burning in your belly, or have you blown out the flame? The majority of people don’t have what it takes. But these three do and all of our other Nidans and Sandans and Yondans who train week in week out. It’s a massive achievement and we are delighted with the standard of the three lads who made it. Well done to you all.
- Connor Cherry – This is Connors very first grading here at Red Tiger and boy did he pick a hard one! Connor has been focused on his Nidan since late last year and has trained 3-4 times a week every single week to work towards this goal. His parents have been a massive support so we should thank Jo and Mike for enabling him to do this. Connors combinations were very well practised and his katas were tidy and sharp. He excelled during the kumite and did his best to make it hard for his opponents. Well done on this extraordinary achievement. Connor is our third youngest Nidan and we are so proud of him.
- Matthew Tandy – Matt Tandy has been part of Red Tiger since we very first opened classes in Bolton back in 2005. He is a Red Tiger legend and we have had the pleasure of watching him grow into a thoroughly likeable and humorous young man. He did brilliantly on the grading day and we are proud to say he is a Nidan in our Club. The time and effort he has put in over the years means that he fully deserves it. Matt is a great student and now one of the very few Nidans we have. Marvellous well done!
- Callum Miles – I do not want to take anything away from anyone else who graded on the day, but Callum was just breathtaking from start to finish. Alan Sensei mentioned that Callum had the highest score for Kata in a very long time. This comes as no surprise to us because nobody works harder than Callum. He always trains with focus and intensity and pays attention to every last detail. Always looking to improve, always trying to be the very best he can be. We couldn’t be prouder of Callum and we are glad that so many people watched him and got to be impressed by his exceptional karate. If watching Callum doesn’t motivate you to work harder in class and achieve more, then you should not be doing karate. For us as Instructors, he certainly motivates us to keep learning, keep getting better and producing students and Instructors just like Callum!
So many people thank Paul Sensei and I, but we are just two people in a Club full of Instructors, students and parents who are all pushing it forward in the right direction. Enjoying traditional Japanese karate in a nurturing and friendly environment. We are so much more than just another karate club. Great friendships and bonds are formed at events like these that can never be broken. Well done everyone. It’s good to be Red Tiger and good to be JKS! Big thanks to Alan and Wendy Sensei for making so many dreams come true!