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Special Course and Dan Grading Results: 11th November 2017

We held a Special Course and Dan Grading on Saturday 11th November with Alan Campbell Sensei 7th Dan Head of JKS England and our Chief Instructor Paul Wolstencroft Sensei 4th Dan.

The course was a huge success with almost 100 students and Instructors taking part. We hope you all really enjoyed the course and took a lot away from it in order to move forward and improve your karate. It looked like good fun and hard work! There were lots of nervous faces throughout the course as 24 students and Instructors were due to take their Dan Grading examination immediately after.

The JKS Dan Grading isn’t so much a physically testing grading, however the mental pressure you are under makes it extremely difficult to perform at your very best. I cannot put into words the guts and bravery it takes to attempt your Dan grading not only in front of the panel of Alan Sensei & Paul Sensei, but also in front of all of your family, karate friends and fellow students & Instructors. The atmosphere is so tense and I think it is fair to say everyone was just desperate to go out there, try their best and get it over and done with.

There were a seven students attempting grading for the second time. This in some respects deserves more admiration, because not only have they already been through the surreal experience once. They have felt the crushing disappointment and humiliation of not passing first time around and also have the added fear of experiencing that devastation again.

We are so happy to report that every single person who attempted their grading passed this time around. Huge congratulations to you all.

Alan Sensei was quite pleasantly surprised at the end. He was full of praise for the students grading and our team for helping them to achieve this success. His kind words mean a lot to us and made the day even more special. Alan Sensei has over 30 years experience in the world of Shotokan Karate, he is one of the most Senior Karateka in the UK and will have seen thousands of students and sat through hundreds of gradings. For Alan Sensei to pass all of our students is a very proud moment indeed.

As always, it is a team effort at Red Tiger, we all pull together, push and support one another and are always trying to improve. We all care about each other and for us to have so many students going for grading and being successful, really is a remarkable achievement and one we’d like to replicate at every future Dan grading. Huge thanks to all the Instructors who put students forward and to Paul Sensei for teaching the extra grading practise class and Rob Head Sensei for covering his early class so that he could do this.

The Instructor team really is amazing and we know just how lucky we are to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of Sensei’s and Seniors. You are the ones who nurture and guide these students from white belts who know absolutely nothing, to Black Belts and Nidans. It is a very special and rewarding job we have and days like Saturday make it all worthwhile. Thank you all.

I’m extremely happy to NOT have to write about dusting yourself off and carrying on for those who didn’t pass because there were only happy faces and delighted & proud parents this time around! Well done!

Below are the names of those successful and some words about why they are special and how well they did on the day.

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 Club!

Our New Shodans – 1st Dan Black Belt 

Izzy Baron – Izzy has been training with us since she was just four years old. Our third Baron Black Belt following in the footsteps of Dad Mike Sensei and big sister (and our Champion of everything) Grace Baron. She has earned her Shodan at the age of just 9. She is our youngest ever Black Belt and we couldn’t be happier that it was Izzy to achieve this. We are so proud of her and everything she has done with her karate so far – and we know there is so much more to come. Her performance on Saturday was just phenomenal. I don’t even need to talk about her age because she was just as calm, collected and confident as everyone else. Izzy is a lovely girl too, a real credit to her parents who I’m sure will be bursting with pride. She is enormously talented especially when it comes to Kata and somehow when under pressure manages to perform even better than she normally does. You are awesome Izzy, our pocket rocket, our Golden Champion, a perfect & beautiful little package never to be messed with! Don’t ever change!!!!! Keep up the great work missus.

Holly Dale – Well this has been a very long time coming. Holly is a very special talent indeed. We knew from the day she first started that she had a great gift and we could mould her into an excellent Black Belt. She is very dedicated, training three times a week every week and always puts the effort in. What a beautiful and well mannered young lady too – a credit to Mum and Dad. Holly is the kind of student everyone wants to teach and I’m very privileged to have her at Heywood! She’s not afraid to push herself, joining our squad, medalling at comps and really working hard to fulfill her massive potential. She was just brilliant on the grading day, She blasted through the kihon with strength focus and power. Holly will be gutted she made a minor error in the Kata section but she should know she more than made up for it in the kumite with sharp movement, pin point accuracy, quick hands and feet and a excellent control. We are really proud of you Holly, what a star! Keep it up. I’m sure there is lots more to come from you yet.

Zak Thomas-Blackhurst – I have so much to say about this wonderful young man. Zak is just 10 years old and has been training in the Denton class for over four years. He walked in the door a nervous wreck, young, shy and probably a little bit frightened but straight away as soon as he started training I knew he was going to be a star. Master Jackson and the Cherrynator have taken Zak under their wing and both lads deserve a lot of credit for just how good Zak has become. His journey has had it’s ups and down but thankfully just up’s, especially these past two years. He became our youngest ever Student of the Year back in 2016 and I can’t wait to see his demo next month. He is the JKS England Kata Champion two years in a row and is such a dream to teach. He works hard in class, is an amazing Cadet Leader (really kind and patient with our Denton children) and is always hungry to get better. His performance on the grading day was nothing short of exceptional. He was so sharp, dynamic and 100% determined. His reaction to being awarded his belt shows just how much it means to him. Well done little man, stay humble and keep up the great work. I’m not ashamed to say you made me cry with your sweetness because I am a massive fan! Keep on doing exactly what you are doing, your future is so bright and we’ll make sure you stay on track!

Ellis Pindoria-Stott – Wow another incredible little talent, Ellis performs like he was just born in a gi. Perhaps one of the most naturally gifted students I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Ellis has a quality to has karate that you just can’t teach. He has worked hard and been patient over the years but has always been impressive leading up to this day. He was always I student I wished I taught you and the day he arrived at Heywood I was like YESSSSSSSSS! Hallelujah! He’s gone from really good to absolutely exceptional and he performed like a true professional on his grading day. We are proud to have him on our Squad and it comes as no surprise that he usually medals in both kata and kumite wherever he goes. I can’t even decide which he is better at because he is so good in all areas. Ellis has been training 3-4 times a week every week for well over five years and you can see that he has put the time and the work in and built solid foundations. I know there is so much more to come from Ellis, as great as he is now, there is more to come and we are so excited by his talent. Very strong Student of the Year Candidate, Ellis will be getting one of my first invites – and he deserves it 100%.

Ella Rylance – Ella is another absolute little superstar. There aren’t many girls her age who’d have the courage to come up and do what she did on the grading day. She has been training with us for only a few years but is dedicated to the max. She trains 3-4 times a week, pushes herself in the squad, challenges herself at comps and has won a few medals along the way. She’s a lovely young lady, well mannered and really hard working. Ella is a very talented Karateka but like Holly is especially gifted when it comes to the kumite. She fought Zak and he is awesome, she held her own and landed some great shots. She was absolutely fearless and I think earned everyone’s respect along the way. People will remember her face and her name and so they should.  She is so young and still has plenty of room to get better and better. Her family support her karate and are 100% behind her which helps a lot. Dad Lee will be next I’m absolutely certain and he will smash it, just like Ella did. Well done Missus.

Kevin Longthorne – Kevin is another exceptionally talented Karateka. It may sound like I’m exaggerating but the quality of the young kids in our Club really is so special and Kevin is up there with the very best of the them. His karate is actually like Paul Sensei’s. There is a quality to it you can’t teach and it just looks so tidy and absolutely effortless. Of course anyone who does karate knows how hard it is, but Kevin makes it look easy, that is when you know you have a very special student indeed. His parents support him every step of the way and they like the ‘Sir Alex Ferguson Hairdryer-treatment approach’ Paul Sensei takes with Kevin to get the best out of him. Kevin needs this though, as Paul Sensei knows he is something special. Equally talented in all areas, strong, fast, determined and fearless. What a great student – surely another top candidate for student of the year, well done Kevin and keep up the brilliant work!

Jacob Kirk – Superb performance from an absolutely lovely young man. Jacob trains at the Standish dojo and (alongside Izzy) is Mike Baron Sensei’s first White to Black Belt. Mike Sensei is right to be very proud of him as he was another one of the stand outs of the grading. Jacob and his little bro Ethan are both very dedicated and this hard work really paid off. He shows great attention to detail and as an Instructor, those are the best students to teach. He listens, learns and tries to correct things right away. Jacob is particularly good at kata and has improved his kumite considerably more recently. His performance at the grading was very impressive and he has a very bright future ahead of him. What a little superstar, well done. You are a fantastic role model to all your classmates and I hope they will be proud of you too!

Cian Dronsfield – Cian has been training with Sensei Lorraine for over 7 years and is a really dedicated student with strong karate. He was retaking the Kata section of the grading and was really brave for giving it a second shot. He has been doing extra training sessions and everything he could to improve his Kata’s even though he’s a very gifted kumite fella. Cian’s hard work all paid off and he had made tremendous improvement, his Katas were sharper and his movement was much better. His Junro Shodan especially, was much improved and he really deserved his Black Belt 100%. Cian really seems to enjoy his training and I am sure he will keep training and inspiring the other youngsters in his classes. He is an absolute diamond! Well done.

Emma Knights – Emma has been training in our Horwich class for many years and has always worked really hard. She has been very patient and remained committed and has worked under a number of different Instructors. Since Mike Sensei took over her class, Emma’s karate has just gone from strength to strength. She has tidied everything up, moved sharper, listened and improved. It is like he re-inspired her to become better and found her inner awesome karateka! She looked very determined to be successful on her grading day and really gave it her all. Her kumite was much more controlled and she used some good combinations on her opponent. Her kata’s were focused and sharp and this is the area she has perhaps made the most improvement. Keep up the great work Emma, you were fab.

Nathan Standring – Where to start with Nathan? He is a an absolute legend! I really enjoy teaching Nathan but sometimes he does drive me mental and I think about putting my head through the wall! But it is only because I know that Nathan is talented, REALLY talented, but just doesn’t believe it. His confidence is not what it should be and we got the worst possible result last time around! Nathan is a kumite man, he can do anything when he’s sparring, he’s really comfortable and would be a challenge for anyone. A Kata man he is not and Kata is what he had to retake. But he understands that karate is kihon, kata and kumite as a whole and he needed to get his butt in gear and work with us on the Katas. To his credit, he’s been great to teach recently. He’s tried much harder to put more physical effort and focus into his katas. He’s moving through them better and his techniques now look like if they landed, they’d hurt you. There was a small hiccup at the grading but I’m so pleased that he passed and got a second chance because after training for all this time and watching numerous people go past him, he can now say he is a black belt and he earned every inch of it. What is frightening is, Nathan is only 13 years old and about 6ft 3! I’ll definitely need to stop giving him so much cheek soon! Top lad Nathan, well done 🙂

John Dolan – John Sensei is a really strong and powerful Karateka. You’ll have to go along way to find someone more enthusiastic and passionate about karate than John Sensei is. He is a brilliant Instructor and is so selfless and encouraging to others. I feel he was very unlucky last time out, having always been a top adult within the club and absolutely breezed through his Kyu gradings. We definitely shared in the shock and disappointment when he was asked to retake is kumite section back in July. Since then, he has remained consistent with his training, stayed really focused and determined to improve. His hard work certainly paid off as he was much more impressive this time around. His attacks were sharp and strong and he was more positive when moving forward. He made good use of combinations and his movement was more explosive. Having one specific area to work on really helps and I’m sure John Sensei will agree that his performance at this grading was better and he was more confident. Well done John Sensei, you were awesome. We are so happy that you are now a Black Belt.

Su Matthews – I don’t think I ever have or ever will see anyone as nervous as Su was throughout the course and immediately before the grading. Having watched her develop over the years and knowing that she always rises to the occasion, I’m not sure why she was so petrified. As soon as her name was called out to start her grading she was ON IT! So focused, so determined and so ready to take full advantage of her opportunity and get her Black Belt. He kihon was really sharp, her Katas were well practised and delivered with speed and power and her kumite was very spirited. She wasn’t going to let anyone get in the way of her achieving her goal. The thing I like about Su’s karate is her focus. She is so zoned in on whatever she’s doing, she will never let anything distract her and she always gives 100% effort, every single time she trains. Huge congratulations Su, you really deserve this and we are really happy for you.

Helen Finney – What a turbulent year Helen has had and what a way to finish it! Helen has been a dedicated and focused student right from the very beginning. She struggles with chronic asthma which when severe can be completely debilitating and unfortunately put her in resus earlier this year. Since then Helen has fought her way back to full strength and has achieved the seemingly impossible. Helen did really well on her grading day and is eager to learn and do everything the correct way. She is a very diligent student and you could see throughout her Kihon and Katas. She should be very pleased with her performance because she has earned every inch of that Black Belt, I’m sure she’ll have been a little apprehensive about the kumite, but she was strong, put together good combinations and landed a few really good techniques. It would be great to see her boys follow in Mum’s footsteps and earn their Black Belts too. Helen has lead by example and now she has been through this experience will be a great help to not only her boys, but others whom she teaches and trains alongside. Huge well done to Teresa Sensei too, who has guided Helen from white belt all the way up to Black Belt. What a fantastic achievement for both of you. That is something which will bond you forever. Well done.

Megan Waters – What a brave a courageous young girl Megan is. She brushed off the crushing disappointment of having to retake her kumite section, she has since increased her training, stepped out of her comfort zone and is now training better than ever. As disappointing as it is not to pass, sometimes the examiners just see that you are talented and are capable of more. Megan certainly proved this at her second opportunity.  She has remained resolutely determined to succeed this time around and make her family and Instructors extremely proud of her. Her movement and stamina was much improved and you could tell she was really thinking about what techniques to use and when to throw them. She put together some good combinations and was sharp to counter when the opportunity arose. Megan is a lovely young lady and you could tell that getting her black belt meant absolutely everything to her. She has been training with us for many years and has been through some unsettling changes in her classes and suffered a few crippling injuries. However her commitment and dedication can never be questioned and she thoroughly deserves this. Well done missus and keep up the great work.

Ciaran Abbott – Absolutely lovely young man with a heart of gold. Ciaran is a very talented happy chappy and I can’t help but think that he was perhaps in the same situation as Megan, the examiners just knew he was capable of more. What a brave young man to take the disappointment from July and use it as his motivation to prove to all of us that he is a black belt and could get the job done. He came out really sharp and dynamic when doing the kihon section and right away I knew this was gonna be his day to shine. Sometimes Ciaran can over-try, which effects his balance. There was none of this at the grading, he was calm, controlled and let his good technique do the talking. His Kata’s were much improved and his sparring was brilliant, especially considering he had such a tough opponent in Kevin (whose movement is second to none). He managed to land some good techniques and was very careful to stay in control as he was the older and more powerful of the two boys. This definitely showed us that Ciaran has matured into a better student and a fantastic Black Belt. We are really proud of you for bouncing back so well. What a star and wear that black belt with pride. It was hard earned and well deserved.


Nidans –  2nd Dan Black Belts

Louis Johnson – Louis is without doubt one of the most gifted and talented students we have ever had the pleasure of teaching in over 20 years. His karate is just everything you could ever want it to be and more! It’s effortless and beautiful. When he glides through his Katas you can’t help thinking that he was just born to do this. He is simply in a league of his own and that performance was certainly one of the best I have ever seen from a 1st Dan going to 2nd Dan and I’m not exaggerating, he was THAT ridiculously brilliant. An unforgettable performance from Paul Sensei’s prodigy. He is strong, sharp, focused, determined, insanely talented and extremely athletic.  I could go on and on about his karate and the ins and outs of why he is so good. But my favourite thing about Louis is that he is a genuinely wonderful young man. He is an absolute credit to Catherine, he really is one in a million. You see so many talented students who are spoiled by their own ego. This is the exact opposite of Louis, he has no idea what a special talent he is, no ego, no arrogance, he is just a really lovely person. You’ll never see him take advantage of lower grades or older students, he works so well with everyone. He is an amazing Cadet Leader and we are so lucky that he passes his exceptional karate onto others. If Louis taught a class, I’d get in the line and train with him no question, this kid is that good. Inspirational for everyone. He’s not afraid of hard work either, Paul Sensei sees the talent and pushes him hard, even he gets a bit of hairdryer treatment but you’ll never hear Louis complain, he just gets on with it. So if you are one of our younger students and looking for the perfect role model – then Louis Johnson is your man. What a 2nd Dan. Can you tell we are proud? Congratulations.

Amelia Karabedian – Another one of our brilliant young superstars. Amelia is a very dedicated student spending 3-4 nights a week at karate every single week. She is a brilliant cadet leader and a fantastic role model for all our juniors. Since grading to Shodan Amelia has actually stepped up her training when a lot of people choose to quit. She was more hungry than ever to learn. She attends all of our extra events, became our junior Kickmaster Champion last year and I really wouldn’t want to mess with her. Lack of confidence has always been a bit of a problem for Amelia and I have no idea why. She is not only absolutely brilliant at karate but is also very charming, beautiful and sweet natured young lady. Her Katas were strong and despite having a bit of a wobble during Kanku Dai, remained calm and composed and finished what she started. I would hope that Amelia would have more confidence because once she does, she will be unstoppable. We are so proud and pleased that she is one of our Nidans and I know there is still more to come from this brilliant young lady. Well done.

Adam Karabedian – We are delighted that Adam has become one of our youngest ever Nidan Black belts. He isn’t the most confident, much like Amelia and I don’t understand why. He is super committed, very talented and works really hard. He trains almost every day and has done for many years. He increased his training in the run up to the grading and even had one to one training to improve as much as he possibly could. That is the dedication required at this level and it was wonderful to see this hard work paying off. He was very focused and sharp during the combinations and looked determined in the kata section. I can personally see a massive difference in the way he moves and his overall Kata presentation between his last grading and this one. He had a tough draw in the kumite coming up against Louis, a much larger and rangier opponent with great movement, but Adam was brave, put up and good fight and stood his ground. He countered where possible and was patiently waiting for an opportunity, then landed some good techniques. Adam is a really lovely and happy young man and is a great member of the Timperley crew, he is a fab cadet leader and still has loads of excellent potential which we hope help him unlock in the future. Well done Adam, you are a little star!

Greg Burton – Greg is without doubt one of the most committed students we have at Red Tiger. He attends every single event we hold, trains almost every day, has recently joined our squad and never ever misses a single class. He never makes any excuses and is very naturally gifted indeed. He likes to give it the ‘mean mug’, but we all know he’s always having a good time! I really enjoy attempting to get some banter out of Greg ‘I don’t know’ Burton and he can just about manage a smile at class maybe once a month or so! I hope he’s smiling when he reads this because we are really proud of this brave and resilient young man who had to come back and resit the whole grading for a second time. As I have mentioned earlier, based on his last performance, the examiners must have been able to see he was capable of so much more. He proved his worth on Saturday and earned his Nidan. Boy did he have to work for it though, having to do several rounds of sparring and he landed some seriously good techniques. He has a lightning fast counter gyzami mawashigeri and his legs just seem to be elastic. His kicking ability is exceptional and more recently has grown in confidence and regularly lands these techniques with ease in class. We are really happy that he graded and proved to everyone he had what it takes. Well done, you should be very proud of what you have done.

Lee Edwards – Lee Sensei is a fab Instructor and a very dedicated student. He is one of the last ones standing of the original Bolton crew and has trained non-stop since the day he started. He always supports every event we hold and is very eager to learn and improve. He had a bit of a nightmare with the kumite in July and was asked to come back and retake it. Since then, he’s been taking part in all the extra training he could and has even trained a couple of times at our squad class to get in all the extra practise where possible. He put on a much better performance and was more positive when coming forward and attacking. He also landed some really accurate counters and demonstrated excellent control. We are really pleased that Lee has graded and he is a very helpful and valuable member of our team. For Lee, karate is a lifetime journey, he seems just happy to train, crack on with it and continue to learn and that is what it should be all about. Congratulations on this massive achievement, you thoroughly deserve it.

Karen Anderson – She did it! And it clearly meant the World to her. What a huge relief and a weight off Karen Sensei’s shoulders. She left the last grading understandably devastated and needing to retake the kumite section. A nightmare considering she has always faced a struggle with.confidence when it comes to kumite. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to come back and give it a second try in front of all of our Instructors and students. After a lot of kumite focused extra training and classes, Karen Sensei looked much more comfortable, moved better and was coming forward with varied attacks. Her control was good and she was more patient rather than rushing in which essentially, was her downfall last time around.  We are so pleased for Karen and proud to have her as one of our Instructors. I’m sure she’ll use this experience to help others in a similar position in the future. She has been a constant source of support for her student Olivia and Olivia is very lucky to have such a caring and encouraging mentor who leads by example. Well done, you can relax now and be very proud of what you have achieved.

Lewis Thomas – What a naturally talent and gifted young man. Lewis has been training in karate for many years. I would say in the last three years he has transformed into one of the best and most promising young men in we have in the entire Club. His karate is exciting, he’s dynamic and has exceptionally high ability. His kicks are outstanding and he is very dedicated. He rarely misses class and always gives it 100% every time he trains. He is equally talented in all areas and I’d say between 1st and 2nd Dan he has made the most improvement in his Katas. There is nice flow and good rhythm, his movement is sharp and the power he generates is very impressive. He has always been good at kumite and now he has learned how to correctly time his sweeps, he can give anyone a run for their money, we are all in trouble! He has become a real handful. I wish he had the confidence to throw his kicks more and then he will be completely unstoppable. He was awesome at the grading but we know there is more to come from Lewis. He is a very exciting talent indeed. Well done mate and keep up the great work. Dave must be an extremely proud Dad!

Olivia Levell – I feel Olivia was very unlucky at her first attempt at Nidan and it was so sad to watch such a talented and amazing young lady who has always enjoyed her training, doubt herself so much that she thought she would never be good enough for Nidan and even considered giving up! The panel simply knew she had more to offer and they were right. And there is ‘no quit’ in our girl. She made no mistakes the second time round and we brought out the big guns for her. Olivia had to spar JKS World silver medallist in kumite Grace Baron for her belt and she absolutely held her own. She was the older and longer limbed of the two and showed a great understanding of distance. Olivia was also really well controlled with her younger opponent. She coped well with Grace’s speed and lightning fast movement and got off some good counters. It was a great fight to watch and I was so happy to see Olivia just absolutely go for it. You could really tell that she wanted it this time and in the end, that made all the difference. She was more confident and determined to land techniques and the difference in her was night and day. We are so happy for you and really proud to have you as one of our Nidans. You earned that grade and we know you still have a lot more to offer. You just need to start believing in yourself, because we all know that you have the potential to be one of the very best. Well done missus, you can be happy now.

Abby Fielding – Following an outstanding performance at the grading Abby has cemented her status as one of the best junior females we have and a certain student of the year candidate. She is the JKS National Karate Champion for her age group and that Empi showed us exactly why! It really was something special. Explosive, dynamic, well timed and I’m so glad she was up on her own so we could all appreciate how well she performed it. Such a grafter, Abby is at karate almost every single day, working hard, being the gorgeous little cutie that she is! She has improved immeasurably since she graded to first Dan and it is all down to being dedicated and determined. She is a wonderful Cadet Leader and I am very lucky and grateful to have her in the Bury class. She’s a brilliant role model in our class and she inspires all of my girls! Her kumite was also excellent despite being the smaller of the two, she was very positive and accurate with her attacks. Her combinations were effective and she landed a good range of different techniques. It really was Abby’s day! She well and truly deserves her Nidan and we couldn’t be more proud of the way she outperforms her potential every single time! The Princess is now one of the Queen’s! Well done missus.

Dave Robertson – Dave Sensei is such a great character in the Club and we are so lucky to have him. He is an excellent Instructor who doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’ll do anything for anyone and he produces some awesome students. He is normally so laid back he could fall over but as much as he will refuse to admit it, I think he may have been a little nervous before the grading. These nerves soon settled and he put in a solid performance through the Kihon section. The Kata’s were sharp and he recovered well when he had a little moment where his mind went blank which is everyone’s worst nightmare at a grading! He was really strong in the kumite section and landed some really well timed attacks and counters. We are really pleased for Dave Sensei who has been attending extra lessons and has probably achieved his Nidan in record time. It’s all down to his own hard work and the fact that he is a complete karate addict! You did brilliantly Dave Sensei, you lead by example and we have no doubt you’ll continue to train hard, teach awesome classes and further your karate knowledge for many years to come. Well done.

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 financial 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. As Alan Sensei commented, many of you have high ability and are capable of even more.

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 a small break in training when I was having a child, I know jujst 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.

What remains to say is the day was such a happy one, and a grading that I will remember forever. We can all be very proud! well done and thank you all for being a part of it.

Lastly, If you would like to order a JKS Hirota Embroidered Belt from Japan you can download an order form here. You can either email it back to me and BACS the payment across or download and print it and pay your Instructor. All orders will be sent on Monday 20th November and fingers crossed will be collected by Paul Sensei and Mike Sensei  when they visit Tokyo in December.

Hirota Belts Order Form