Class News, Grading News

Shodan, Nidan and Sandan Grading Results

A Black Belt Grading was held on Sunday 12th September for our students and Instructors due to attempt their Shodan, Nidan and Sandans.

I always look forward to these events and it’s always an emotional day. Black Belt Gradings are so unpredictable and examiners have such difficult job. We can only judge those in front of us based on the performance we see on the day. We want you all to pass. We are looking for the good. Everyone is different, some thrive under pressure and outperform our expectations and some struggle to overcome their own nerves and don’t necessarily perform the way we know they can. It’s the thrill and the agony.

For those who passed, we congratulate you on a job well done. We are so pleased for you and proud that you represent our club at this level. To you I say this – CARRY ON. Nothing changes for you. The only thing that changes is the way others view you. Now, some of you get to wear a black belt in class, or have achieved Nidan or Sandan. These levels command respect and you have earned this over many years of training and dedication. Wear your belt with pride and know that you have achieved something that very few people ever could. Think of all of the people you trained with when you first started, I bet there are very few left still doing it. You are unique, it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It symbolises a student who began their karate journey many years ago, worked extremely hard week in, week out and never gave up. We have all faced many challenges over the past couple of years and you have demonstrated the strength and courage to overcome anything and this is your reward.

This is your black belt and you should be enormously proud.

With senior grades comes big responsibility:

Responsibility to ALWAYS try hard.

Responsibility to show up and set an example.

Responsibility to inspire others the way you have been inspired.

Responsibility to continue to develop and keep learning.

Responsibility to stay fit, healthy and strong. Look after your body.

Responsibility to remain humble and respectful. A peaceful warrior who will fight as a last resort.

Responsibility to fulfill your potential.

Continue to set new goals and train with purpose. Did you know we practise the 26 Shotokan Kata plus 5 Junro’s. You have learned 8 if you are at Shodan level. There is so much still to do. You can begin to pass your knowledge onto others by beginning to teach. You can start testing yourself through competition. The opportunities are right here and available to all.

Not one person went home having failed the full grading. There were just five students who were asked to come back and retake one particular section. Think about it in terms of scoring 66% in a test. You didn’t do badly at all. In fact, you did VERY WELL. We cannot fault the effort and we must respect the courage you showed to try.

Do what you need to do and come back full of confidence next time around. You’ve already spent 4,5,6 even 7 years working hard at your karate, what’s another few weeks of specific kata or kumite training? Carry on, you have come too far to give it all up now.  Sarah, Aasam, Isaac, Mark and Aadam. We care about you all and we are here to help you finish what you started. I want to be writing amazing things about you in a few weeks time – you can all do it.

I also just want to take some time to thank all of the Instructors who have continued to teach and motivate these students throughout the best and worst times. On ZOOM and in the dojo. We are so lucky as Karate Instructors that we get to see you grow up and fulfill your potential. Your teacher at School changes each year,  we get to take you from beginner with zero knowledge or skills to highly skilled, physically and mentally strong Black Belts.

Then you end up bigger than us! And our job is to make you better than us. Each generation of students better than the last. Throughout our shared experience, a mutual respect and friendship is developed between Sensei and Student that can last a lifetime.  We have the most rewarding job in the World.

RTK are lucky to have such a wonderful team of Sensei who care so much about their students and do a fabulous job.

Thanks to the examiners Rob Sensei, Paul Sensei and Mike Sensei for sharing their expertise and Leesa Beckwith Sensei and Helen Dolan Sensei for all your help and hard work behind the scenes. It was a very smooth ship thanks to you guys!

We had 28 successful students on the day – 17 new Shodans and 9 new Nidans and 2 new Sandans. After many years of dedication we always say a few words about each person and what makes them so special to us.

Sandan Black Belt – 3rd Dan

Leesa Beckwith

No description available. 

Lovely Leesa Sensei is a Sandan at last! What a journey Leesa Sensei has had. This was her Kata re-take but we are honoured to have helped her complete her grading. Leesa Sensei took part in the last Kagawa Shihan grading at JKS England back in March 2020. She successfully passed her kumite but was asked to retake her Kata and then we all know what happened next – LOCKDOWN. Leesa Sensei has been training in karate since the 1990’s but since making the decision to grade to Sandan, she has trained more than ever. She prepared herself so well for the first grading, taking extra lessons, having 1:1’s and then to experience a knockback and the subsequent suspension of senior Dan gradings, you might have expected her to begin thinking it was never going to happen! However, Leesa is always the first one to look for a positive in a negative situation. She is one of life’s Do-oers. She turned a why me? – into a TRY ME.  Lockdown gave her the opportunity to train every night of the week and her karate and fitness improved tremendously. We all miss the crazy Beckwith antics on ZOOM I’m sure, but among the madness, there was a lot of hours of hard work, sweat and practise that went in. She was very confident and impressive on the grading day. Her Hangetsu had a lovely flow, her stances were excellently maintained throughout and it was clear to see a lot of toil has been put into it. Bassai Dai was a good contrast as she performed a powerful and dynamic Kata with energy and effort maintained right to the very end. It gave us great pleasure to make you so happy yesterday. We are privileged to count you and Mike Sensei as our closest friends and we were delighted to reward all of your determined efforts with a well earned Sandan. Enormous achievement by a wonderful human being – well done 🙂

Callum Miles

No description available.

Callum Sensei has been training with us for longer than I can remember, I think he started back in 2008. He was a cripplingly-shy little teenager with long hair and we always like embarrassing him with that one! But in truth, we knew back then that he was an extraordinarily talented karateka and was going to be something very special. Callum Sensei’s karate just gets better and better, yet I still feel there is more to get out of him and he still has plenty of time on his side. He has dedicated his life to karate since leaving school. He has become one of our most energetic and inspiring Instructors. So strong and passionate about his karate. His students are fantastic and are now coming through to reach their own Black Belts. The foundations of his karate are tremendous. He is so technically sound, paying attention to every last detail until it is just right. He is perfectionist and his own worst critic. He is never satisfied with where he is up to and is always trying to better himself and make small improvements knowing that they all mount up. Callum Sensei has tested himself at National level and has won quite a few medals along the way. This experience has improved his ability to perform well under pressure. At the grading he was simply outstanding. I enjoyed every second of his katas and his sparring. He is lightning quick and moves so well. He glides through his katas, making them look effortless. We were waiting for him to get tired and in the end he did slow down a little (after 5 opponents back to back), but his technique and pin-point accuracy was still there. We are so pleased that he is now a Sandan and has chosen now to advance is grade. It was a pleasure to watch and grade him and see just how great he is. I am sure he will be embarrassed by all the good things I have said about him because he is so humble and has never needed encouragement. But please accept it because you deserve the recognition and the praise. Well done and please keep it up 🙂

Nidan Black Belt – 2nd Dan 

Ellis Pindoria-Stott 

What a student. I was so excited to see Ellis’ name on our grading list. He has a long history of being an absolute superstar. Our expectations were high and he did not disappoint us. In fact, I would say he surpassed them. He absolutely bossed the grading from start to finish. Tasked with scoring and writing feedback, I found myself just watching (probably looking gormlessly open-mouthed) enjoying every second of his exceptional performance. My feedback sheet only has good comments and the highest of marks.  Never in my life have I seen somebody so young handle such enormous pressure with such composure, focus and class.  Ellis was born to do karate and we are blessed to have him here in our club. Those who practise karate know just how hard work it is and Ellis makes it look so effortless. I can only liken it to a Pro-Golfer or a Pro-Tennis player. Looks easy and then you have a go and discover you are awful. Ellis takes karate and makes it look like it’s the easiest thing to do in the World when it is in fact extremely difficult. That is how you know somebody is extraordinary at what they do. We have been running our own karate club for fifteen years now and to see how far you have come from that angelic little 4 year old at James Brindley afterschool club to this absolute brilliant teenage powerhouse we see before us today. You young man, are one of the best ever. You are frighteningly good and still getting bigger, stronger and better. He’s achieved everything there is to achieve here including Student of the Year, National, European and International medals with the England Squad etc. yet you are still the same lovely down to earth lad. There is not one shred of arrogance or cockiness. He is so lovely and patient with lower grades. Your parents are so proud and so are we. You have no idea how good you are and no idea how much potential we still see before us – never change. You have champion written all over you Ellis, keep up the great work and we’ll find your next challenge.

Gina Farrance

First class performance from Gina who like Ellis just gets better and better. She also makes karate look effortless. To look at her you would never believe that she could take your head off your shoulders with just one pin-point accurate mawashi. Angel face, beautiful eyes with nerves of steel and a gyakuzuki that would blast out your ribs. This young lady has it all. There is not one area of her karate that is weak. She is exceptional at everything. Her kihon is strong and she is a real perfectionist. Her Katas were superb. Her kumite was fearless and she could put any technique she chose on any of her opponents whenever she wanted. Her distance control was the key to her success, only breaking in to land a perfect technique and then gliding back out of range with ease. Even when opponents did manage to land she was completely unfazed. You cannot teach this level of focus. For those who get to teach Gina, she is an absolute pleasure to have in the dojo. It’s an honour to teach you and it always has been. You work so hard every single lesson. Well done on your Nidan. This was so well deserved and there is so much more to come. Keep up the outstanding work.

Lola Girault

We absolutely love Lola Girault. What a brilliant karateka. Lola, (like Ellis) was absolutely tiny when she first started training in karate. I mean so young and so small that the littlest gi was too big for her. She was such an awesome little student right from the very start. We all knew she was going to be amazing one day and those days have arrived. Her performance at the grading was incredible. Every single technique was perfectly placed. Her Katas were so well practised and timed to perfection. She was so sharp and dynamic. I cannot tell you just how much time and effort goes into Lola’s karate. When most girls her age would be going out with their friends, she is in the dojo putting in the work night after night. Sweating, working hard, correcting and perfecting. Always improving, always smiling and always being kind to others. She sets an exceptional example to everyone. Her Mum Lily Sensei, Dad and big brother Kyle must be so proud of her. We enjoyed watching her, getting to grade her and know there is much more to come. With a work ethic like hers, she can go to the very top and be there for a long time! Well done Mrs!

Daisy Parton

Congratulations Daisy P! You are a 2nd Dan Black Belt! We are so pleased for you and so proud of you. All those weeks of worrying and you’ve done it. And – you were brilliant. I think the theme here is definitely start when you are little. Daisy was just four years old when she started and it’s been a very long journey. She is such a fun character to have at class. It’s people like you who make this club so unique and such a fun place to be. Once we could stop her from chatting in class (which took us about the first 5 years), she has gone from strength to strength. Your karate has improved immeasurably over the last few years. You’ve always had the potential but at times, lacked focus. But now you are a completely different young lady. You come to class to work hard and improve and that is the difference. Since you’ve been fully focussed on your Nidan, you’ve never looked better. The pressure of grading alongside Lola, Gina and Ellis must have been daunting, but you did brilliantly. You must start believing in yourself and have more confidence. If we can keep you focused, we can keep you making this excellent progress. I think you would do well on the kumite squad as you are a fearless fighter. Well done Daisy 🙂 Keep up the great work Mrs!

Helen Dolan

Helen Sensei has gone from Beginner to Black Belt to one of our most senior graded females in super-quick time. From the moment she started karate she has never looked back. And not once taken her foot off the gas. She trains and teaches almost every night of the week, always working hard in the dojo and leading by example. She has made massive progress between 1st Dan and 2nd Dan and looked so confident from start to finish. Her Katas were excellent, well timed and powerful. She did her very best to leave to leave the men in her dust! She looked fitter, faster and stronger than ever and her movement and kumite was much improved. She had to spar all of the men and wasn’t intimidated one bit. Helen is a fantastic Instructor and such a kind and caring soul. You won’t find anyone more committed and dedicated to karate and our club than Helen Sensei. She is always there to support all students and the Instructor team. We are very lucky to have her.

John Dolan

John Sensei has worked really hard on his karate between 1st Dan and 2nd Dan. His combinations looked powerful yet relaxed. He was calm and composed. He is finally able to relax and flow in his katas and put in an excellent performance. For such a giant, he is remarkably quick with his hands and fast on his feet. I really enjoyed watching him spar. You know at any moment he could put somebody’s lights out if he wanted to. But now, he is able to demonstrate excellent control. His timing was excellent as he was quick to counter when his opponents were breaking  distance.  John is such a supportive Instructor and runs and excellent class over in Radcliffe. His students are always such hard workers and this comes from him. John is a great man and we are so lucky to have him 🙂 Well done!

John O’ Donovan

Another class grading from John O’ Donovan Sensei who for the first ever seems to have escaped this one relatively unscathed. I always look forward to the ‘unpredictability’ of John Sensei’s kumite but this time, he showed us how much he had improved. There was no flying in like a madman, he was very controlled and got off some excellent counters. John Sensei’s combinations were very well practised His Katas were powerful and sharp. I really enjoyed the flow of his Junro kata and his Bassai Dai was very strong.  John Sensei is one of the nicest blokes you could be lucky enough to know. He is such a popular member of the Instructor team and a pleasure to work with. He really enjoys his karate and always trains so hard week in week out. Well done!

Mark Ellicott

This has been a long time coming as Mark has been a black belt with us for many years now! I was really pleased to hear that he was up for the challenge of doing his 2nd Dan and he certainly didn’t disappoint me. Hes was so focused and appeared very confident. His Katas had a lovely flow to them and despite a couple of hiccups along the way, he showed that he had made excellent progress between 1st and 2nd Dan. I really enjoyed his sparring round with Callum Sensei as he gave just as good as he got. Mark is such a lovely man and an absolute gentleman. We are so pleased that he is finally joining our Instructor team and his students are lucky to be having him. He really knows his stuff and will make such a fantastic Sensei.

Tony Kelly

This is Nidan number three for Tony Sensei after grading way back in 2007 and with the KUGB. Tony is a long time friend of ours and has been training in karate for decades. He came back before lockdown and has such a humble attitude he insisted on wearing a white belt until he picked up the unfamiliar parts of our syllabus. We are so happy to have him back training with us and he seems to be really enjoying learning different katas and challenging himself. It feels like he has come home! His performance at the grading was really impressive. He is incredibly focused and such a hard worker. Ever the perfectionist – he is his own worst critic. You can tell he spends a lot of time in the gym doing independant training and he’s in great shape. I really enjoyed watching his sparring. Tony is so unpredictable and isn’t afraid to try absolutely anything. He landed some really strong techniques. Congratulations on your 3rd – 2nd Dan! We are so pleased for you. Sandan next!

 

Shodan Black Belt – 1st Dan 

Thomas Dolan

Team Dolans mission is complete as Thomas joins the rest in the Black Belt Club. His journey has been a long one with plenty of ups and downs but right now, he couldn’t be looking better. It must have been bittersweet for him watching all his family members achieve their goals whilst he continued to work towards his. We must all admire his attitude and resolute determination to get there. Thomas has always been such a hard worker and we could never fault his effort.I am so pleased for him and he was so focused on the grading day that there was nothing going to stop him. He was so good and absolutely fulfills his potential. I enjoyed watching him. His combinations were sharp and powerful and even though he still has little bits to work on here and there he is so ready to be a black belt. We are so pleased for you and proud of you Thomas. So hard earned and well deserved.

Maisie Fu

Maisie Fu was so impressive at the grading. I’ve been watching her train relentlessly to prepare for her grading knowing she was going to be good. But she was even better than expected, she was absolutely amazing. So good and so young, we are excited by her talent and know that the sky is the limit for her. She was super sharp and focused from the combinations to the katas and the kumite. She was on beast mode from beginning to end. How could we say anything other than – Pass Shodan. She joins big sister Meg in the Black Belt club now and their parents must be immensely proud of having two incredibly talented kids who have both absolutely breezed through their journey to their black belt. Well done Maisie – keep up the outstanding work.

Priya Bradley

Priya Bradley all I can say is WOW. She was so much more confident than last time. I know there were nerves again before the grading but once she settled into the Katas – she really showed us how much improvement she has made. Last time around didn’t quite go to plan as she was asked to come back and redo her Katas. This time around there was no stopping her. We can only have admiration and respect those who experience such heartbreak and disappointment. Priya refused the easy option of quitting and showed us that she is a true Black Belt in mind, body and heart. Her positive attitude and willingness to train harder and get better. Her techniques were sharper, she was stronger and transfixed on getting everything just right. A firework could have gone off and she would have finished those katas. Priya is no quitter. She is winner and will go far in life. We are so pleased for you and proud of you. What a lovely girl. Well done.

Evie Gregory

Sweet little angel face Evie Gregory, what a superstar. A completely transformed young lady. I remember her walking into Little Lever class, so small and shy, tearful and clinging to her Mum. Now look at her. I can hardly believe she is the same girl. She has been developed brilliantly by her Instructors. They have instilled confidence and the belief that she can do anything she puts her mind to. She started off her grading very nervously. But when she put those mitts and pads on she was right at home. Great kicks, so positive going forwards and absolutely fearless. We were so surprised and so impressed. Well done Evie, you were fantastic and keep up the great work.

Demi McDonagh

Demi has shown massive potential from the very start. A lovely, polite and well mannered young lady right from the start who is an absolute pleasure to teach. She is so talented, there is nothing she can’t do. She makes karate look effortless and passed her Shodan with flying colours. As I look through the feedback sheets I see we all had the same thoughts, there is so much more to come. The sky is the limit for Demi, I can see there is a top competitor within her as she has so much determination and raw talent. If we can keep her motivated and focused, we will have an absolute superstar on our hands. Remember her name everyone, Demi has so much more to offer and this is only the beginning for her. Keep up the brilliant work missus.

Ava Staton

Ava has been part of our Club for many years and has been quietly plugging away. I am impressed every time I see her, she always tries so hard, I was looking forward to watching her perform on the day and she was better than I expected. Her kumite was so good, she got some of the highest marks in the group. So brave and fearless. I loved her mawashigeri’s. Not just a kumite fighter though, the rest of her karate was excellent. Ava has so much potential and we hope that she will carry on and fulfill this as she has everything it takes to keep getting better and better. A solid foundation, a great attitude and the right Sensei’s to get her where she needs to be. Outstanding performance Ave, well done and keep it up.

Kirsten Wood

Kirsten has had a very long karate journey with plenty of ups and downs on the way. Her karate is never an issue, she is incredible. It is her confidence that has sometimes held her back. Her combinations were so impressive as were her katas. She glides through her movements with ease and is beginning to develop some power. She was brave in the sparring and refused to give up. Unless you have done this grading, you can’t know what it is like to stand there facing such enormous pressure with a fellow student flying at you trying to kick and punch you to get their Black Belt. Its a lonely and scary place to be. Kirsten managed to overcome this and came out fighting in her second round. This strength of character is just what we wanted to see and we were really pleased to award her a Shodan. Well done Kirsten and keep up the great work. Your whole class will look up to you now so keep setting a great example and start believing in yourself!

Niamh Lysaght

Niamh is an outstanding example of a student. Ever since her first lesson, we could tell she was going to go all the way and be absolutely awesome by the time she was going for black belt. She hasn’t been doing karate for as long as the others in the group but you couldn’t tell because she is so committed. Niamh never misses a lesson. She trains twice a week every week without fail. And during those lessons, she gives everything. She listens, gives us plenty of effort, corrects what you ask her to to when you ask her to and then she won’t make the same mistake again. She is an Instructors dream. At her age, most of her mates will be out socialising etc. but she has continued to remain committed to her goal and get her black belt. She performed so brilliantly at the grading and I didn’t expect anything less. She passed with top marks and I know she will continue to learn. There is still plenty of potential and she has the attitude and supportive parents to help her get to the very top. Well done Niamh.

Imaan Fatima

Imaan alomg with her cousin Aadam are two of our longest serving students. I am so pleased that she finally took the opportunity to try for her black belt after over 10 years of dedicated training. Imaan has always been so lovely, shy and gentle, it has taken a long time to find the controlled aggression you need to be able to demonstrate for this level. But over the last couple of years I would say she has been absolutely brilliant. It’s been like the flick of a switch. She trains hard in class and is a well rounded fighter. She has awesome kicks and isn’t afraid to get stuck in. She’s made the most improvement in her Katas. She perform them with confidence and power like we have never seen before. The progress she has made between 2nd Kyu, 1st Kyu and Black belt has been immeasurable and that is why she is now a black belt. Please start believing in yourself even more now. Hopefully, this will be the confidence boost she needs to become even better. Well done Mrs!

Michael Parry

We love Michael Parry! Always smiling, full of character and finally – a Black Belt. He has done it. So hard earned and so well deserved. He experienced the bitter disappointment last time around and was 100% determined to make sure that this was going to be his day. We are delighted to have watched his growth over the years as a karateka. It has been extraordinary. We asked him to retake the Kata section and he has clearly worked so hard to eliminate any chance of a mistake the second time around. I think we could have thrown all 8 katas at him and he’s have done them all brilliantly. We applaud and respect your bravery for coming and giving it a second go. The confidence and determination you showed us has to be admired. Congratulations young man and please keep it up, your karate is so strong and we know there is plenty still to improve and we can’t wait to help you develop even more.

Ethan Fong

Looking back on the day,Ethan was without doubt one of the very best we saw. Each examiner has awarded him very high marks and he performed with the calmness and composure of those going for their Nidan. His karate was frighteningly good. He was in a class of his own. Watching him perform because less about finding critique and more about just watching how excellent he is. He is very dedicated too. Our dojo in his area closed down and he carried on. Stayed loyal and travels all over to continue to learn and develop. He must be an absolute dream to teach. This is a young man who clearly will make corrections when asked to and then never has to be told again. Students like Ethan are the reason why we do what we do. He has been developed so well by his Sensei’s but the hard work is all his own. Keep doing what you are doing Ethan, because you have a very special talent indeed.

Jos Hall

Jos is another student who has been training in karate for many years and for reasons beyond his control, it has taken a long time for him to get this opportunity. His dojo closed down and hes been training patiently on zoom. He’s from the Lancaster area and has been travelling all the way to Morecambe to give himself the best chance of a successful outcome. He was absolutely awesome. There are no weak areas of Jos’ karate. His Kihon, Kata and Kumite was all impressive and he has always been an absolute pleasure right from the very beginning.  He was sharp and powerful and Kiai was rattling our table! He shows great spirit and dogged determination which will ensure he goes far in life. We have nothing but admiration and respect for Jos. His performance at the grading was outstanding. As much as we would be gutted to lose him, he would fit in any club and be worthy of a black belt. What a lovely young man you have become, well done.

Bradley Kendall

Bradley has been training with us for longer than I can remember. He has had countless Instructors but what remains constant is that we all know that Bradley will give us 100% effort every time he sets foot in the dojo. You can’t help but love his cheeky face and comedy Kiai! He is a pleasure to teach and a quick learner. He tries his best to correct everything and is an animal when he gets his mitts and pads on. Bradley hasn’t just been working hard since the date of the grading was announced. He works hard always. I have really enjoyed watching him grow and become so fantastic at karate over the years. He has patiently waited between gradings and never disappoints when he gets an opportunity to shine. We are so happy you got your Black belt and we know there is so much potential left to develop. Stick with it Bradley because you could be one of the best!

Nils van Dongen

I have always looked forward to watching Nils over the years and seeing how he is progressing. That kumite is as real as it gets and I couldn’t wait to see it. However, I have to say the progress he has made in the rest of his karate has been extraordinary. He has clearly been working hard with his Sensei’s, listening, correcting and trying to relax more. He is so much better than I have ever seen him before and his kumite was absolutely SMASHING! He didn’t disappoint me whatsoever. He still flew in like a raging a bull, if it is in you – then you can’t help it. But he also showed he’s developed another side to his sparring – patience. At times he showed he could hang back and execute effective counters. Very impressive. We are so pleased for you Nils and proud of your progress. There is still plenty we can help you and we have no doubt that you will remain committed and continue to try. Well done.

Jo Woodman

To know Jo is to love Jo! What a wonderful young lady with the world at her feet. She looks like an angel. So shy, so quiet. Get a pair of mitts and pads on her and withing ten seconds you’ll see why we call her ‘the Hammer’. She is fearsome and fearless! Nobody was coming between Jo and her black belt. You could see that right from the combinations, through to the kata and then on to the kumite. The focus was immense. This was her chance and she was having it! As much as I enjoy the demolition job that usually happens when you watch her spar, I was most surprised by the way she has tidied up the rest of her karate. There is no more over-trying. She’s still powerful but her technique has been refined. She doesn’t look wild when she does kata anymore and it’s the personal progress you make that means that we can award you Black Belt. You can’t get one from fighting alone or Jo would have done it 3 years ago. It is everything else she has done that has got her there. Nobody has had it easy this last couple of years, but the steel, strength and character you have within you is just inspirational. Congratulations Jo, we are all SO PROUD OF YOU.

Jonathan Curtis

Jon Sensei has always been a marvellous karateka. I always think it must be difficult for those who have started their karate journey as adults but you my friend, have made it look easy every step of the way. You are a class act. We have come to expect you to always be at the top of your game at events like this and you certainly didn’t disappoint. There is a beauty to your karate that just can’t be taught. You are one of the few adults who can make it look effortless. You started out many years ago alongside Luli and Joey in an area has seen so many Instructors. You have been a constant supporter of the Club and along with Mark and Isaac Jepson, you’ve been the backbone of the class. The area has become yours and it is in the safest of hands. You’ve been given consistently high marks across the board and rightly so. Your karate has such quality, it could have been Nidan you were going for and I think you’d have been successful. Congratulations Jon Sensei. We are lucky to have you, please keep up the great work.

Jaime Padron

Jaime Sensei is another extraordinarily good adult. He has previous martial arts experience which can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help but in Jaime Sensei’s case, he has just been able to build on a solid foundation. I’m sure if Covid hadn’t got in the way you’d have gone from beginner to Black Belt in super-quick time because you have been so determined to succeed from the minute you set foot through our doors. I really enjoy your karate and it shows. You are always smiling and such a fun character to be around. You couldn’t try harder week in, week out. You are a fabulous Sensei and we are very lucky to have you and your family in our Club. We cannot wait to see your little angels progress and follow in Daddy’s footsteps. They are so cute and best behaved children at karate! Now you have earned your black belt, the pressure has been lifted although knowing your character, you’ll be setting more goals and continuing to develop and achieve more and more. We are delighted for you and so pleased that you are in the Black Belt Club. Well done.

I always finish these write ups by acknowledging that when students make it to black belt, it isn’t just their achievement alone. It is a team effort. It is the parents that travel miles and miles to take you the dojo day after day, week after week. It’s the Mum or Dad who says ‘You’re GOING’ when you can’t be bothered – and we all get days like that. Your commitment and support should never be underestimated and is always – greatly appreciated.

It is the spouses at home looking after the children so their loved one can train. It is a constant financial commitment when money isn’t always readily available. It’s the Instructors who refuse to give up on you, who day after day will care for you, get to know your family and nurture your development over many years. It is our job to keep you motivated and give you the tools. It is then up to you what you do with them.

It’s those who train alongside you, your fellow karate ka – your teammates. It’s the class lunatic who tries to take your head off and in the end you get so good they can’t! It’s those who have been doing it before you, who might not even be here anymore who have inspired you to keep working hard and becoming a better version of yourself. Karate may be an individual sport but here, we do it as a team.

Thank you to everyone else involved, they simply couldn’t do it without you.

Our club is nothing without the community it has become.

We are grateful for you all.

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