Brown & Black Belt Course and 6 New Black Belts: Sunday 23rd September

We’d like to say a big thank you to all the students who trained at our Brown and Black Belt Course last Sunday at the National Taekwondo Centre.

There was a fantastic turnout and the course looked to be very enjoyable.

After a killer warm-up by Rob Head Sensei, teaching was focused mainly on kumite drills, Jiyu Ippon and hook kicks and Connor Cherry Sensei closed the course with spinning hook kick drills and sweeping techniques.

Thanks to all who helped out and supported the event. The next Brown and Black Belt Course will take place at the Ntaional Taekwondo Centre on Sunday 4th November from 1pm-3pm.

During the last part of the course, six students who unfortunately received element only results at the last Dan grading were allowed to retake their failed sections.

We are delighted to report that all six passed and are now proud owners of Black Belts.

I am so pleased to be able to write about these students an their journey because it takes great courage and bravery to come back from such a crushing disappointment last time around. They have been added to our Black Belts Roll of Honour and we couldn’t be more proud of them all.

Olivia Fagan – Olivia trains with Mike Baron Sensei and is really dedicated. She is one of the original Standish Gang who started when the class was brand new and since then has been training with great determination to get her Black Belt. Olivia did really well at the May grading, passing both her Kata and Kihon sections however she struggled a little in the kumite and was asked to come back and retry. She has clearly been working hard on her movement and instead of steaming in, she was much more calm and well controlled. Her attacks on target this time and she showed much improved defensive and counter-attack skills. Congratulations Olivia, this has been hard earned and well deserved. We are so pleased to see you enjoying a successful outcome  this time around as you are such a lovely young lady who still has lots more to offer. Keep up the great work.

Alex Gallacher – Another one of the original Standish Superstars – Alex has been training for many years and always tries his hardest. He has always been really impressive at all of his Kyu gradings and you can tell he puts the effort in at every class. His kumite is always really strong and his karate would most certainly work for him in a real life situation. We were all surprised and Alex was extremely disappointed last time around when he was asked to retake the Kata section. Although he may be a little frustrated with himself after Sunday, he has improved a lot and that showed through on the day. He looked sharper and very focussed and is definitely capable of carrying the responsibility that comes with wearing a Black Belt. This youngster has fantastic talent and there is still so much more to come from him. Well done Alex and keep training hard!

Alex Mellor-Brook – Much better performance this time around from Alex Mellor-Brook who is a great student and a thoroughly lovely chap. Alex has been training in our Club for many years and has worked under a fair few Instructors. Since Mike Baron Sensei took over the class, Alex has gone from strength to strength and he has very tidy, clean and effective karate.  He was so unlucky at the last grading , after smashing his Kata and Kihon sections, he just never really managed to get going in the kumite and sometimes that’s just the way it goes. He put together some good combinations this time around and even managed to land a hook kick, which they had been practicing in the course. His defense and movement was much improved and it had to be with such a good partner as Andy Matanle. You looked so relieved when your name was shouted and you realised you had passed. A long term goal, impressively achieved, well done.

Joseph Shakos – Joseph trains alongside his brother Samuel at both the Denton and Reddish classes. He has been a loyal member of the Club for many years now and is a fantastic Cadet Leader for Sensei Steve. He is so talented at karate and is an absolute pleasure to teach. Polite, hard working and always trying to improve. He did well at his first attempt at grading passing both the kihon and kumite sections but was asked to come back and retake the Kata section. Since then, he has been more focused and determined than ever to get his Black Belt. Joseph has been working so hard to improve every Kata including the Heians and gave himself a really good chance of a successful outcome this time around. His hard work definitely paid off and he performed brilliantly on Sunday. Congratulations on earning your Black belt Joseph, it was very well deserved.

Samuel Shakos – Samuel is another wonderful student who has bags of talent and is a dream to teach. He was so unlucky on his grading day last time and just didn’t get going in time to land enough techniques to pass his Kumite section. Both his Kihon and Kata performances were excellent and I couldn’t help but think that perhaps his nerves got the better of him with the kumite. I feel as one of his Instructors that this is a strong area for him so had no doubt in his ability to smash the kumite section, second time around. He has been moving really well in the Denton class, picking his shots carefully, putting together combinations, using feints and looking better than ever. He was much improved this time around and put in a brilliant performance. No backing off or turning away at all! Just confidence and great kumite. Well done, you thoroughly deserve your black belt and we have no doubt that there is so much more to come from both of these extremely talented brothers.

Lily Whalley – For those who know and train with Lily in the Darwen classes, she has always been a polite, hardworking and exceptionally talented karateka. Determined to follow in the footsteps of her big sister Hannah, she trained hard and battled her nerves and successfully passed the Kata and Kihon at her first attempt. I’m sure won’t mind me saying but I don’t think kumite is her favourite thing to do so being asked to retake it must have been gutting. In the last few months, we have definitely seen a different side to her, she has been practising so hard and taking on-board every bit of advice she has been given. In class, she’s been training brilliantly and looked much more confident. She’s been able to land techniques she’d have never tried before and her defensive skills have improved so much. Lily put in a marvellous performance on Sunday and was so happy to get her Black Belt. I’m sure she made her whole family extremely proud of her. Keep up the fab work Lily! What a star.

Well done to all the Instructors, Assistant’s and Cadet Leaders who have managed to these students back up and re-inspire them to achieve their goal. It really is a team effort.

We are working together with Alan and Wendy Sensei from the JKS to book a date for our next Dan grading later this year. Keep your eye on the events calendar and news page and announcement will be made soon.