Bolton Gradings – Sunday 8th March 2020


We would like to congratulate all of the students who took part in our Club Gradings at St Catherine Academy in Bolton last Sunday. It was our busiest grading day in our 15 year history thanks to storm Ciara and the subsequent postponement of our February Grading!

Thank you all for persevering with us and making it to grading! We made the decision to assess the beginners as a group on their own, for their first full grade of orange belt and we were so impressed with the standard.

The group was super enthusiastic and eager to show what they had been learning from their Instructors over the last few months. The first grade really is the hardest to achieve because you have no idea what to expect. Every single student tried the best the could and that is all we can ask for. There was a lot of youngsters who have started their karate journey at the perfect time. They don’t know it but they are our superstars of the future and the grading was awash with amazing and exciting talent!

It was fantastic to see such a lot of parents grading with their children. This is what our Club is all about, familes enjoying karate and achiveing goals together. So if you are a parent who sits at the side week in week out thinking I could do this, then what are you waiting for? Just have a go. You’ve nothing to lose!

We want to say a huge congratulations to the group from Tottington Primary who have recently started with the wonderful  Louise Sensei and have already achieved their first belts. Great work, well done. Nicole Sensei also put forward a few exceptionally talented students from Little Lever! She is also doing a cracking job as one of our newer Sensei’s and all of her beginners did her proud.

Elena Gershlick from Helen Dolan Sensei’s awesome Whitefield dojo was chosen by Paul Sensei as Student of the Grading for her excellent kihon, good technique and tremendous effort from start to finish. Well done Elena and keep up the great work.

Thanks to all the parents who came along to support and for taking your child(ren) to karate each week. It really is a fantastic sport to get into with so much to be achieved with the right dedication, effort and commitment. We hope you can see the value in it and continue to encourage your child(ren)’s development.

Thank you so much to all of the Instructors who helped out with the smooth running of the grading. From preparing the students brilliantly for grading and getting them up to such an impressive standard to welcoming and looking after them on the day. Taking photograph’s, making sure everyone got their certificates and licenses, teaching sections of the karate, it was a team effort and our team are so talented, so lovely and we know they the best! We are all very lucky to have the Sensei’s we have!

The afternoon grading was just as busy as the morning session and I must admit it was going to a difficult task to outwork those white belts but the higher grades certainly managed it!

There were plenty of students returning for the 2nd time attempting their Red Belts and they were all super. The whole group worked really hard and all were successful – well done. Keep up the fab work.

There were also plenty of students attempting their yellow, green and purple belts and we were so impressed. They all knew their katas, combinations and kumite drills and we were really happy with the standard of them all. Congratulations in particular to the fab group of new yellow belts who train at Holcombe Brook with Sensei Leesa, you are progressing brilliantly. The Harrison family who train with Sensei Callum are also a fantastic standard as were all of the students from the Haslingden Saturday class, Jannah, Sahibah, Niyah and Juhela. Amazing work, well done. Benjamin Wegg successfully double graded to purple belt from yellow. He graded alongside his whole family Sarah and Timmy who went to orange belt and Zak who went to green belt. Lots of new belts and double grade for team Wegg, a marvelous achievement for you all, well done!

There were 13 students attempting their purple and white belts and they were top drawer! I’ve got to say this was one of the strongest groups of green belts going to purple belt we’ve had in a very long time. It’s normally a level where people struggle as the karate is getting harder and students may get frustrated. This group are the exact opposite, they are on the road to the top! Isobel Robertson, Sophie Lever, Rob Harrison, Dariya Falahi, Layla Davies, Lois Cowley, Austin, all the boys from Little Lever; Joshua M, Joshua P, Benjamin Jones, Bethany. Lily, Kiran, George, Oliver you were all amazing. Well done and keep pushing to that brown belt and beyond.

Sophie and Amy Rothwell both earned their 4th Kyu purple and white belts with both girls making exceptional progress and have a very promising future. Sophie was so impressive that she was awarded the Student of the Grading trophy for her outstanding performance. She is a great all rounder and will go very far indeed!

Emily Fentem was as exceptional as always from the Chesham Dojo and is clearly working hard with her mentor Teresa Sensei. Her kicks are amazing. Jack Yates and Clarissa Lyons from Bernie Sensei’s Holcombe Brook dojo were outstanding. Both have incredible SUPERSTAR potential and we are very excited by their talent – remember their names folks. James and Lewis Street from the Haslingden dojo have really improved so much and put in 100% effort from start to finish to get their purple and white belt. Great work fellas and it’s always great to see Dad and son grading side by side supporting one another. Max McGrath and Matthew Tyrrell from Leesa Sensei’s are also progressing brilliantly. Both boys really gave it everything and will make great black belts one day. Keep up the fantastic work.

3rd Kyu Brown  Belt

Holly Kendall – This young lady has made tremendous improvement and has been training with us for many years. She never misses class and always works hard. Congratulations Holly and keep up the fab attitude.

Noah Cubbin – Another much improved student who struggled a little last time round. This time he was so sharp and focused and looked 10 times better! Keep up the amazing progress Noah, we were very impressed. You should have more confidence because you have everything it takes to be outstanding!

2nd Kyu Brown Belt with a white stripe

Paul Evans – Paul is an absolute pleasure to teach and work alongside. What a fantastic karateka. He is so encouraging of others and an extremely patient teacher, but it was his turn on Saturday to show us just how fab his karate is. Excellent performance Paul, we are really pleased for you. Can the wonderful Team Evans make it 4 out of 4 to Black Belt? I certainly think so!!!!

Daniel Ingham – A much improved performance from this lovely young man. He works really hard when he train and has started to pay more attention to detail and you can really see how this has improved his karate in all areas. Daniel was fantastic and has bags of potential. Keep up the excellent work.

Megan Fu – What a student. Every so often a student comes along that we wish we all taught and Megan is that girl. During my time at the Friday class she was an extraordinarily gifted karateka who was an absolute dream to teach. I knew she has limitless potential and it was wonderful to see the porgress she has made and how she is fulfilling the promise she showed at a young age. Keep it up Megan you are exceptional.

Katy Heyes – What a wonderfully polite and determined young lady Katy is. She is a wonderful student to teach with bags of talent. She was so nervous in the run up to the grading because she is a perfectionist and is so critical of herself. There was absolutely no need for her to worry because she was awesome. If Katy had more confidence, she would be even more incredible. Don’t ever doubt yourself Katy, you are a karate star!

Danika Wood  and Evie Gregory – I’m putting both and Evie and Danika together because so far they have had similar karate journeys. Both have started at such a very early age and were so shy (particularly Evie). To look at them now you would never believe that they are the same girls! They are both still so young but had the poise to get up in front of all of those students and parents and do their karate so brilliantly is heartwarming. It really shows just how incredibly special both girls they are and how commitment to karate has brought them confidence, strength and determination. There have been ups and downs and maybe still more to come, but you both made your Instructors and your parents so very proud on Sunday. You two are amazing. Well done!

1st Kyu

Hsanat Ahmad, Hirra Ahmad and Hammad Ahmad – Team Ahmad are such a wonderfully polite and talented karate family! All three are equally impressive in their own way. You have Hirra who is so gracious with her kata’s but is absolute fierce when it comes to kumite! She’s so hard working and determined to perfect everything she does. Her perfomance at grading was superb and she has everything it takes to make an outstanding black belt.

Hammad has always a bit of a gentle giant and I mean that in a lovely way. It has been a challenge to get him to let out the fire in his belly when we know just how fantastic he could be. The progress he has made between 2nd and 1st Kyu really is immeasurable. He trains with much more focus and has improved the technical aspects of his karate. He too will make a fab black belt in the near future.

Last but certainly not least is Hsanat. He is the youngest and used to be the least confident of the three I would say but watching him on Sunday he was exceptional! His katas were strong and sharp and he was SO determined in his kumite. He fought so hard right till the end and proved to everyone he is well worth his 1st Kyu. Huge congratulations to Team Ahmad and all at Darwen who work together to make these guys so fantastic. And of course thanks to Yasmin who is endlessly supportive, sitting at the side, always being encouraging and enables them to attend all the training sessions and extra events to make all three this great at karate!

Jo Woodman – We call Jo ‘The Hammer’ as she reminds of a certain other Hammer (Hannah Cain) who is 100% lovely and then strikes fear into everyone once she gets those mitts and pads on. Jo has always shown great promise and never disappoints us. There aren’t many young women of Jo’s age who spend their time working hard at karate whilst other are out with their mates! We are lucky to have quite a few inspirational teens and 20 somethings (Olivia P, Nicole Sensei, Hannah to name a few) who are exceptional at karate and Jo is definitely working her way right up their with them. She’s been working hard to tidy up her katas and will need to continue to do this as she approaches her black belt. We are excited to help her get there and know she will be amazing! Well done Jo!

Bradley Kendall and Lewis Horsfield – What a bright and brilliant young men Bradley and Lewis are (when they stop chit chatting to one another at the back). The progress these two have made is exceptional. They’ve gone through the awkward teenage boy phase of growing limbs causing lazy stances and have more recently been pushing themselves harder than ever. The good news is boys that this has to continue. No talking to each other, pushing yourselves to the maximum every lesson and you will become the very best you can be. Both Lewis and Bradley have been training with us for many years and it’s been pleasure to watch them grow up into lovely characters. Now is the time to take what you are doing seriously as you both proved on Sunday you have everything it takes to get top marks when it comes to your black belt grading. Congratulations on your 1st Kyu’s and we look forward to what is hopefully coming next! 2 Great Black Belts!

Thanks to everyone who supported the students throughout the 2nd grading and all the Instructors for everything you do. I said it earlier but you really are the best and we would not have the students we have with the high standard they’ve got without you. We also wouldn’t be able to run such huge and successful events. You are all brilliant!

Keep working hard everyone and parents keep your kids motivated to learn! So often we sadly hear of people giving up after grading. The learning never stops. Nothing worth having will ever come easy to you and how many people can say they’ve got a Black Belt in karate. Not many!