Following an excellent grading in Handforth we made our way over to the Lancaster dojo to complete our 2nd grading of the day.
At the outset of the grading, Sensei Paul mentioned that the students had a tough act to follow, after the students who graded in the morning showed a very attentive attitude and gave 100% effort throughout. Despite a slow start with so many youngsters grading, the group eventually got into their stride and impressed Sensei Paul, Rachael, Joni and Mike.
Both Grace Baron and Jenny Freeman also gave up their afternoon to attend the grading, not only to support the students they train alongside every week, but to act as excellent demonstrators and partners throughout the grading. Thank you to both of these young ladies for doing such an excellent job!
After a very tough grading, which included multiple rounds of sparring with instructors and black belts, everyone lined up exhausted! To everyone’s relief, all students were successful in earning their next grades.
There were some fantastic lower grades that were successful on the day, particularly those attempting green belt. Holly Quinn, Zoe Fubarra and siblings Ellie and Matt Laytham put on excellent performances in all areas. All of these students show great potential for the future- keep up the good work!
Only two adults were present at the afternoon’s grading- Chris Rogers and Tina Mant. Both of these students follow in the footprints of Lancaster legend Norman Lewis, who was yet again missed by the Instructor team. But Chris and Tina will have done Norman proud- they both put on great performances from start to finish- congratulations to you both!
Tina’s son Jos Hall and Priya Bradley had an almost faultless grading, with great spirit and effort from the beginning. Both students have very tidy karate and will progress well towards their 3rd kyus under the guidance of Sensei Mike.
The following students have worked hard over several years to earn the senior grades of 3rd kyu and above.
3rd Kyu- Brown Belt
Riley Wearing came to the grading to retake his 3rd Kyu brown belt, after failing his kata at the last grading some months ago. At the time, this was a big shock to both Riley and his Instructors. But Riley was back at training the very next week, working hard to improve in the areas in which he’d fallen short. During months of patient waiting for his retake, Riley continued to work hard with Joni and Mike Sensei in preparation. It would be an understatement to say that this effort had paid off. Sensei Paul remarked that Riley was like ‘a different student’ and his effort was clear to see for all of the instructors and spectators. In reward, Riley was not only awarded his 3rd kyu brown belt, but also the Student of the Grading trophy. Well done Riley, keep up the good work!
2nd Kyu- Brown Belt with a White Stripe
Tia Taylor was also at the grading to re-attempt her grade. Despite only failing the kata section, like Riley, Tia chose the hard route and repeated the grading in full. After so much work on Tia’s kata, we expected to see improvements here. What wasn’t expected was the huge improvements Tia had shown in all other areas. Tia’s combinations were almost faultless, and she showed great spirit, skill and composure in her kumite, despite repeatedly being partnered against black belts. What a little star. This girl proved to us all that she has the talent, courage and determination to make it all the way to black belt and we would love to see her keep up her outstanding work.
1st Kyu- Brown Belt with two White Stripes
Lastly, Eleanor Hewitt was successful in earning her 1st Kyu, the only one to attempt this landmark grade on the day. Eleanor knew that she had a pivotal role to play as the head of the line- to lead by example and motivate the rest of the class. Eleanor certainly delivered! As Eleanor has progressed through the grades, her confidence has come on leaps and bounds, to the stage where she was able to perform an excellent Bassai Dai in front on a huge crowd of spectators. Eleanor continued to cope under the immense pressure, including performing Jiyu Ippon with both Grace and Jenny, and then sparring with every black belt in the room! Eleanor always puts 100% into everything she does in karate, which makes Sensei Joni’s job very easy every week! It is this attitude that will be invaluable to Eleanor as she begins preparing for her black belt. Well done Eleanor, we look forward to seeing you attempt your black belt in a few months time; you’ll be a welcome addition to the gang of black belts in the area!
Before the end of the grading, Sensei Paul also presented three Dan grade diplomas which had recently arrived directly from the JKS Headquarters in Tokyo. Jenny Freeman, Catherine Clarebrough and Callum Bell had all come along to the grading to collect their certificates in person. This is great to see, every one of the students were eager to collect their hard-earned certificates at the earliest opportunity. These students were the first to earn their black belts in the area, and continue to train hard and motivate the lower grades in the class. This is a great example to set for the next batch of first kyus, who’ll be attempting their black belts very soon!
Finally we’d like to say a huge thank you to both Joni and Mike Sensei for preparing their students so well, and making sure the grading ran smoothly. It’s great to see the same level of strong karate across the club, whether that is in Handforth, or 60 miles North in Lancaster!
And of course we’d like to thank all of the spectators who continue to support the classes and events at Red Tiger. Without your support, the students wouldn’t be where they are now, achieving great things in karate!