SOTY Winners 2017 – Kevin Longthorn, Ellis Pindoria-Stott, Abby Fielding & Connor Cherry


I just wanted to write a few words about each of the students chosen to receive the Club Student of the Year winners. All 4 are very deserving and worthy winners in their own right. Anyone who has been part of their journey in 2017 will appreciate just how much work they have put in to get where they have. All four fully deserve this Clubwide recognition and take their place among the very best students Red Tiger have ever produced.

All four have been training with us for many years and are very special indeed. They have all stood out from the crowd this year by going over and above the expected level of commitment and making exceptional improvements as a direct result.

Huge congratulations to you all, you are great ambassadors for our Club and we look forward to helping you further improve and continue to inspire others.

 Kevin Longthorn 

Kevin has enjoyed a very successful year of karate, starting the year off as a 2nd Kyu and advancing to his Black belt by the end of November with a very impressive performance and one of the highest pass marks of the day. His karate is exceptional and by all accounts he is a dream to teach. We are very lucky to have him as one of our Cadet Leaders, passing on his high standard to the students of the Bolton Class. There are no shortcuts to success, Kevin is one of the most dedicated and committed students we have. He trains 3 times a week, every week. No excuses, no slacking, just consistent hard work, concentration and sustained effort. This is how you go from being pretty good to absolutely great and Kevin has definitely made that transition this year.

It was just a few short weeks ago I was talking about his performance at the Shodan grading, what makes him so special and stand out from the rest. His karate is actually like Paul Sensei’s. He has the potential and the work ethic to be that good in the future. There is a natural quality to his technique that just can’t be taught, you either have it or you don’t and Kevin has definitely got a special gift. I could watch his karate all day long, it is beautiful and he is pure class.

He is a lovely lad too, really nice, helpful and kind to others. He is not afraid to test himself against others by being on our squad and travelling the country to compete at external events. Kevin has had a very successful year on the road representing our club. He has collected 9 medals from just 6 competitions.

He capped off a great competitive year by coming 2nd in Individual Kumite at the JKS England Nationals and winning Gold in Individual Kumite, Team Kumite and Kickmaster at our recent Club Kumite comp. Kevin is equally gifted at Kata as he is at Kumite and there really are no weaknesses. We are certain that the more experience he collects, the more medals will come his way and we are looking forward to sending him to the England Squad trials in January. He will continue to go from strength to strength and has very supportive parents behind him to keep him grounded and motivated. Big thanks to you both for enabling him to achieve everything he has. You are doing an amazing job with him.

Despite his obvious talent, he stays so humble and looked very shocked when his name was called out by Paul Sensei. I don’t think the Instructor team were shocked because we all know and appreciate Kevin’s quality. He will represent our Club brilliantly and continue to inspire others with his exceptional gift. Well done Kevin, I hope it has sunk in now, because you thoroughly deserve your award and the recognition for your effort and achievements throughout 2017. Let’s make 2018 even better.


Ellis Pindoria-Stott

Ellis Pindoria-Stott was the number one name on my list of invites. Anyone who has watched this ten year old’s development over the last twelve months will know exactly why he has been recognised by Paul Sensei as one of the best we’ve got. He has had an extraordinarily successful year. I will later list all over his competitive achievements which will blow you away, but I am much more proud of the change in him as a student that has contributed to his success. 

The willingness to listen, learn and improve. The commitment he has shown. The positive attitude and willingness to try anything you ask him to. The way he works with and helps others. The maturity he shows at just ten years old. The way he will never take the easy option, he always wants to push himself. The way he watched his best friend Zak take this very award last year and rather than being jealous, was the first to congratulate him. The way he can take disappointment on the chin and get back in the dojo the next night, more determined and work even harder.

Ellis really does deserve this award and will continue to inspire others and push himself further in 2018. He has enjoyed a very successful year as part of our squad walking away from both the JKS Novice Comp and the JKS Kyu Grade comp as Grand Champion – defeating everyone else in both Kata and Kumite, winning Gold and Silver medals at both our Club Tournaments, becoming Kickmaster Champion at two competitions. He really has been outstanding and is a pleasure to coach. He is calm under pressure, listens and tries exactly what you ask him to.

We are sending him to the JKS England Squad trials in January as we fully believe that he has what it takes and is ready to challenge himself at the next level. We know he will work hard, keep a positive attitude and will never let us down. He is our gorgeous little dynamite man and we are super proud that he is flying the flag for Red Tiger!

He was also exceptional at the Dan grading where he received his 1st Dan Black belt and got a great pass mark. I am so excited to see him develop further in 2018, because he is super talented and still has so much more to achieve. Congratulations Ellis, keep up the great work little man! He couldn’t do this without the support of his parents especially Danni, who drives him all over the place taking him to the classes which will allow him to develop his talent properly. Thank you both for all you do, he is so great because of you two believing in him and enabling him to do what he does best – lots of awesome karate!


Abby Fielding

Abby has had an absolutely brilliant year and really stepped up her game. We have always known from the beginning that she had the raw talent and potential to be very special indeed. It was a little up and down for her in 2016 but right at the end of the year she won Gold in the JKS England Nationals for her age group in Kata. This seems to have been just the confidence boost she desperately needed to kickstart her success.

She’s been on fire this year. Really focused, really determined and above all, you won’t find many students more committed than Abby. She’s at karate almost every day and trains hard. It has become her life. The difference between Abby in 2016 and Abby in 2017 is that now she believes in her own ability. Like the flick of a light switch, she realised that she is talented and she is up there with the very best young girls we’ve got. This year, she’s been on a mission to prove it.

I’m sure there have been times this year when her Instructors have been on her back where she questioned, is it really worth it? But we are so glad she stayed strong and has made outstanding progress as a result. She has medalled at lots of tournaments throughout the year and once again achieved Gold at the JKS Nationals in the team kumite event. Amazing stuff.

Abby was exceptional at her Dan grading, successfully passing her Nidan at just 13 years old. She was 100% focused on being the best she could be. Her kumite was awesome and she gave an outstanding performance in the Kata section. This was no fluke, it wouldn’t have mattered which Katas were chosen for her, because she put the work in week in, week out and always has. It’s a good place to be as an Instructor when you don’t have to worry about what the examiners choose, because she’d have blasted her way through any and scored highly.

What a little superstar we have. Another inspirational young lady who is absolutely lovely in every way. She is such a pleasure to teach and have around. She is a fantastic Cadet leader, so reliable and I never have to worry about what she is doing whilst she is teaching groups, because I know she will be passing on excellent karate. She has joined the likes of Grace Baron, Lori-Ann Moran, Molly Austin-Hogsden, Emily Withington, all these extraordinarily talented young ladies who have been chosen for student of the year and gone on to do great things. Abby has always looked up to these girls, congratulations, this year you have become one of them.

Be so proud of yourself missus, because we are so proud of you. Well done to Sharon too who has been there from the start, sitting at the side night after night, fighting traffic, kicking Abby up the backside when she’s needed it, being supportive both emotionally and financially and doing it all on her own. Superstars usually have superparents backing them and Sharon is definitely a SUPERMUM!


Connor Cherry

I am so pleased to be adding this name to the Student of the Year page, having watched this young mans development over the last few years. He won’t like this but it has to be said, when he first came over from another Club, he could be a teeny-weeny bit lazy at times! But we could always see the quality in him and the extraordinary potential that he now more than fulfills. Ten thousand shoutings at later, and here we are!

He has worked so hard over the past few years to earn the respect of everyone in our Club. He has had many up’s and down’s along the way but this year there have been nothing but up’s I’d like to think. Connor was a very strong candidate in 2016 and it was a little disappointing for me that he didn’t get the recognition I felt he deserved, but Paul Sensei felt there was so much more to come and for once, I hate to admit he was absolutely right.

Connor himself had no complaints and made it his mission to just concentrate his energy on improving both his training and teaching. His consistent training and hard work has paid off and looking back he’s had a hugely successful year. He has spent a total of four weeks in Japan training twice a day with the very best Instructors in the World.

I wasn’t worried about taking him to Japan for a second, he trained his backside off every single session in the dojo and we were proud that he (and Lori-Ann) were wearing our badge and representing our Club and JKS England. I’d like to think he earned a little bit respect out there because as much as they tried to break us, we went back for more punishment, day after day. Not once did Connor not want to go and learn from the best, because he loves karate and wants to improve.

Connor has been at every course and event we have run, training hard and helping out. He has won lots of medals at both of our tournaments and was undoubtedly the competitor of the day at the kumite comp with his superb kicking techniques and classy performances. Everyone watching his events knew his name by the end. He was amazing.

He is extraordinarily gifted and doesn’t waste this natural talent. He knows as a Nidan he should be setting a great example to others and does this without fail, every single session. Connor has been such a fantastic role model for the Denton class and a great help to me over the last few years. I’m so proud of everything he has achieved. The class absolutely love him. Paul Sensei has now promoted Connor to Instructor and he will now take over his own class. I can’t think of anything better than a class full of mini-Connors. He will be a brilliant Sensei and will have brilliant students.

I could write about how great Connor is all day, but we don’t want him getting a big head so I’ll finish it by congratulating him on becoming our Student of the Year 2017, a title he fully deserves and a responsibility which he will take very seriously. I also want to say that it has been a pleasure to be alongside him on this journey and see what a wonderful young man he has become – a true karateka. Polite and respectful, talented yet hard-working, mature beyond his years, determined, inspirational yet still humble, generous, kind and soooooo funny! He doesn’t even mind when I give him silly nicknames, he just laughs along! He is a credit to Joanne and Michael who must be bursting with pride at everything he does. He is a credit to you and is proof that you are both brilliant parents. Keep up the great work.

If you are inspired by the students above – and you should be, make it your goal to follow in their footsteps in 2018. Set your goals now and don’t rest till you achieve everything you want to. As with everything in life, you get out what you put in. Try hard, be at everything, learn, listen and remember and above all, always do your best.