We are very pleased announce that following a very well supported 2 hour Dan Grade Course and Grading with Alan Campbell Sensei 7th Dan Head of JKS England, we have 9 new Shodans and 3 new Nidans.
There were 5 students who have been asked to retake either Kata or Kumite sections and I’m sure they are all still feeling horrible about it now. You all tried your very best in front of a dojo packed full of people watching, the grading panel and your supporters, we are so proud of you all for having the guts to put yourselves up there and be judged in the first place.
To feel like you’ve fallen at the final hurdle after so many months & years of hard work and dedication it is so difficult to get over. But you must keep on training and trying to make the required improvement. Anything worth having never comes easy and getting your Black Belt with JKS is such a magnificent and impressive achievement, you simply cannot allow yourself to give up at this stage.
It would be like running a marathon and giving up in the last 200 metres. We will not let you do it. You have the support of everyone at the Club and we will help you in every way possible to make sure that next time, it will go your way. So get your chin up and keep on training.
The following people did meet the required standard and have achieved their Shodan after many years of hard graft. Remember – Shodan is the first level. You may have made it to the top of the mountain, but the journey never ends. Karate is a lifetime study and you will always have lots to learn and plenty of room for improvement. Imagine if those before you had given up at Black Belt, we’d have no Instructors and no Club!
Huge congratulations to you all.
Saturday 8th December at the JKS Christmas Course:
David Smith – Dave Sensei travelled to Nottingham on Saturday 8th December and took part in the 4 hour Christmas Course with Matt Price Sensei and Steve Carless Sensei at the feet-shredding Djanogly dojo. This was immediately followed by a tense JKS National Dan Grading where the examiners were Paul Wolstencroft Sensei, Hans Rana Sensei, Geoff Dixon Sensei, Steve Carless Sensei, Alan Campbell Sensei and Matt Price Sensei. Dave Sensei performed really well throughout and passed his Shodan at his very first attempt. His kihon looked sharp and focused, his kumite was strong and effective and his katas flowed nicely and were very well practised. We were really proud of him and his Shodan is really well deserved, he’s a fab student and a really lovely bloke. Dave Sensei must have felt extra pressure being the only one representing our Club, but you couldn’t tell a bit. He was a pro! Congratulations Dave and keep up the great work.
Monday 10th December at the Course and Dan Grading with Alan Campbell Sensei
Ethan Green – What a fantastic talent Ethan is. Since the day he started he’s been a pleasure to teach. Polite, hard-working and naturally gifted. His karate has always been a really high standard and he always tries his best and as an Instructor, that really is all you can ask. He’s been attending extra lessons at Handforth and all of the extra practise classes and his hard work and dedication paid off. His kihon was excellent and he scored well, he showed good movement, accuracy and control in the kumite and perfromed his Kata’s beautifully. He will be gutted to have made a small error in his Junro Kata and is always hard on himself but his other two Katas proved strong enough for an overall Pass. Congratulations Ethan, we are delighted to have you in the Black Belt Club, it has been a long time coming and for us, never in doubt! What a star.
Joseph Downes – Superb performance from Joseph who has across the years has always shown that he has great tenacity, bags of talent and limitless potential. There have been a few bumps in the road and Joseph has worked under a few different Instructors but the standard of his karate has always remained high and he is very dedicated indeed as are Mum and Dad. There is no denying that Joseph would be even better at karate if he wasn’t such a cheeky monkey but I think this adds to his charm. He certainly is a fun character to have around in class. He absolutely rose to the occasion at the Dan grading and performed better than ever before. He was sharp, focused and you could see the years of hard work that he has put in because his techniques were all so well practised. Joseph performed particularly well in the kumite and I think this is the part of karate he enjoys the most. We know there is still so much more to come from Joseph, he is brilliant and needs to keep up the hard work and setting a good example to others now he has earned his Black Belt. Job well done young man!
Ryan Tabner – What a long and arduous karate journey Ryan has had. I don’t think I have ever seen somebody so nervous before a Black Belt Grading and so relieved that it is all over afterwards! Ryan has earned his Black Belt at his very first attempt after training for over 9 years! If I remember right, he did a few years before that at another Club too. He is a pleasure to teach and is very committed, He trains weekly and rarely misses. Ryan has had a few bumps in the road and we are always trying to get more out of him because we know the potential is there and sometimes he needs that little extra motivation (or a kick up the bum!). Ryan performed really well at the grading and was sharper than ever. His Katas were well presented and he was strong and brave in the kumite. We are really pleased for Ryan and very proud of him, well done 🙂 Keep up the good work!
Thomas Tabner – is a Black Belt at last. I’m sure there were times he never thought he’d get to this point but really showed us all what he’s made of. Thomas has shown great bravery and determination to come back after struggling at his last attempt back earlier in the year. He’s worked so hard in class to improve and there was literally nothing that was stopping him this time around. Especially in the Kumite! He just switched to beast mode and absolutely went for it! That is how you come back strong. Awesome stuff. Thomas had considerably improved his Kata and kihon scores too and we are all so pleased at Denton to see his hard work and sheer determination paid off at last. He was excellent. I hope to see this new found speed and effort continue at classes and look forward to many more years of hearing that brilliant kiai! HUUUUUAAAAIIII! Top job Thomas, well done 🙂
Christopher Ayre – Chris is another one of our teenagers who has grown up with us over the years. He has been doing karate here for over 9 years and was clearly just waiting for his chance at Black Belt. He was awesome. He absolutely went for it in the combinations, I’ve never seen him move quicker or with more effort in my life. There were no mistakes in the Katas, he was 100% on the job. He showed heart and resilience in the kumite and did well to pop Thomas a couple of times whilst Thomas was trying to take off his head! We have seen a whole new side to Chris at this grading and we like it! Keep up the fantastic work Chris, we are delighted that your perseverance and dedication has paid off at last! Well done.
Nathan Cook – Fab performance from a really lovely young man. Nathan has always been pretty impressive at his gradings over the years and when he was asked to retake the Dan grading earlier this year, it came as a bit of a shocker. Nathan has continued to work hard though and proved that he could do it. He has been attending the extra lessons, working hard with Lorraine Sensei and getting out of his comfort zone by training at the Timperley Class. He looked so much better this time around. His Kihon was excellent and his Katas flowed nicely. His stances and explosive power have also improved. He had a tough draw in the kumite but managed to show enough to pass that section too and we are really pleased that he was successful this time around. Great work by a great lad. Keep it up and well done.
Peter Stansfield – Pete is one of our top adults but some reason, seems to lack in confidence. I can never work out why because his karate is consistently impressive. He is very easy to teach because he’s so eager to learn. He will listen to your advice and correct what you ask him to, when you ask him to. His Katas were really good and he scored highly in the kihon section. He got some good combinations and counters in when doing the kumite section and put in a solid performance all round. I would hope that being awarded his Black belt will help him gain some confidence now because I feel there is much more to come from Pete and we have only just begun to scratch the surface of his potential. Doing the preparation for your black belt is hard enough, but when you have a young baby to look after too and a partner who also trains balancing everything can be difficult and he is lucky to have such a super talented and supportive missus at home! Huge congratulations to a top bloke, we are really pleased for you.
Denise Bradshaw – Great performance from Denise Sensei who is one very strong and powerful lady! She’s been training with us for many years and is really dedicated. She’s a fab role model and Instructor and takes no nonsense. Her combinations and Katas were good and very well practised and she’s worked hard to tidy everything up and stopped over-trying. Denise can definitely handle herself and she was so up for a scrap in the kumite, she came out like she was disturbing someone who was burgling her shed at home! Thankfully her aggression was controlled and it is really important to show that you have got what it takes to be a black belt both in and outside of the dojo and Denise Sensei certainly has. Fantastic work Denise, we are so pleased for you and proud to have to in the Black Belt Club!
The following students were assessed and were awarded the grade of Nidan:
Bernadette Burton – Fantastic performance by one of the most dedicated Instructors we have. Bernie Sensei is in the dojo almost every single day, either teaching or training hard. She is at everything, all of our events helping out or taking part, always encouraging others and trying to improve her own standard. This is nothing new, Bernie has trained like this from the day she started and her consistent effort and dedication has paid off and she has worked so hard to get where she has. It can’t have been easy to put yourself up for grading and be judged alongside two much younger and much quicker young ladies but Bernie managed to keep up pretty well. She’s practised her combinations religiously for the past 2 years and tried hard to get her Katas up to the required standard and although she made the odd pattern error and has physical limitations, the technique was there on the day and she did well. She sparred the best we have ever seen her, I think she may have been watching Denise Sensei in previous lessons and thought I’m just gonna go for this. She did some good combinations and looked better than ever. Students are judged based on their own individual ability and capabilities and I think it’s fair to say that Bernie Sensei more than meets her potential and always goes above and beyond with her karate. Fantastic stuff and a great role model for all other female adults. Well done.
Nicole Chadwick – Nicole has always been an outstanding student with exceptionally high ability. She is very dedicated and really enjoys her training. Nicole has made considerable improvement over the last two years in all areas. She seems to have grown in confidence and this has allowed her to begin fulfilling her massive potential. Her choice Kata was excellent despite the fact that she’s had a bad injury and took only one week off, it didn’t hamper her performance one bit. She proved that she is mentally very strong indeed to perform at such a high level with disrupted preparation. Nicole is a fantastic role model and a pleasure to teach. She attends all the extra events to give herself the best chance to improve her training. Her kumite is always excellent and she had a really strong couple of rounds at her grading and landed some great head kicks. She showed great spirit throughout the grading and should be extremely proud of herself. Nicole has a very bright future indeed and we are lucky to have her on our Assistant Instructor team and hopefully she continue on and become an Instructor in charge of her own class in the future. Her potential students would be in very capable hands! Well done missus and keep up the brilliant work. You really are one of the best young females we have ever produced.
Molly Austin-Hogsden – How do you sum this phenomenal young lady’s performance up in a just a paragraph? Just simply by saying, Molly is one of the best students we have ever had the pleasure to work with at Red Tiger. She is an absolute dream in every single way. It’s not just about karate, she is a true champion in every sense. A wonderfully polite and well mannered young lady who is everything you could ever ask for as an Instructor. She really does have it all and takes nothing for granted. Physically, she’s strong, athletic and as fit as a fiddle. She wastes none of this talent because she has the perfect attitude to match. She listens, always gives you 110% at every training session. She corrects everything you ask her to and is a true perfectionist in every sense. She simply won’t rest till it’s absolutely spot on. She works equally hard in her kihon, kata and kumite because she understands that to become great at karate, you have to be equally great in all three areas. It has been an honour to watch her development over the years and witness all of her outstanding achievements along the way. I bet Mike Baron Sensei blesses the day that Molly walked through the door, because this kind of talent paired with the perfect attitude AND wonderfully supportive parents is a truly rare thing. He has mentored her extremely well and must be so proud. Suffice to say, her performance at the grading was exceptional from start to finish and she scored highly in all areas. Molly is a superstar and we know there is so much more to come.
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.
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.
Always seek ways in which you can challenge yourself, set lots of little achievable goals for or follow your ambitions. If you compete, throw your energy into that. If you prefer the traditional route, train on more courses, become an Instructor or a Cadet, perhaps visit the HQ in Japan. The opportunities are there for us all to take advantage of in the JKS.
Do not become just another name on our Roll of Honour who used to train but can’t be bothered anymore. You’ll find a way or find an excuse.
Karate is like boiling water, turn it off and it’ll go cold. In other words, stop training and you’ll be amazed how quickly you lose your fitness, flexibility, speed, timing, power and you’ll become just another person who used to be good at karate. Having had to take another break in training, I know just how hard it is to get back to being ‘karate-fit’. There really is nothing like it!
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 Monday, because we know, your day will come.
- You are still very good at karate.
- You have not let anybody down.
- You should not feel embarrassed. You weren’t the first, won’t be the last and you weren’t the only one.
- You did well, you just might be capable of a little bit more.
- Your Instructor and your family are still proud of you.
- Good days and bad days can happen to anyone. No matter how amazing your karate is or how much you train. I am a professional Instructor and I failed. But it gave me a reality check and made me work harder at improving my karate so I’m glad that it happened.
- Follow the example that was set by Thomas Tabner and Nathan Cook. Both failed every section last time around and both passed all three at the 2nd attempt.
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 lasts a lifetime. I’ve never met a person who has given up at 1st Kyu who hasn’t regretted it.
I cannot wait to write some special words about those who didn’t quite make it this time around. So please do not disappoint me! Keep on going and come back in the New Year more determined than ever.