Today we held our last major event of the year and what a way to finish! Our biggest Student of the Year awards ever with the most impressive trophies we have had.
Congratulations to everyone involved from the Instructors who nominated students and made it happen, the parents and supporters for giving up their day and the two awesome Instructors Matt Price Sensei and Paul Wolstencroft Sensei for teaching over 150 talented and eager Red Tigers.
Before we get into the results and awards we must say a huge well done to all the students who have trained hard throughout the year and collected their trophy today. Without you, our Club would not exist. It’s the people that build the Club and with everyone pushing it forward, we just seem to go from strength to strength – year after year.
Each and every student was nominated for different reasons – some based on ability, some based on effort and attendance and others who just live, eat and breathe karate. We are proud of you all.
We witnessed some incredible Kata demonstrations from our 2014 winners. You were as inspirational as ever and showed everyone what standard you must reach to win the top prizes. Our Junior Female winner Lori-Ann Moran took the challenge and tackled Kata Kanku-Sho and absolutely smashed it. She has been working hard on this technically difficult Kata for weeks and the result was a marvellous near-faultless performance.
Kyu Grade winner Louis Johnson learned Kata Jion in the space of about 3 weeks after successfully grading to Shodan and his performance was the usual exceptional standard we have come to expect from Louis our National Kata Champion. Just outstanding, well done.
Junior Male winner Regan Duckworth took on another challenging Kata – Enpi, with a tough jump to do under pressure. Regan has the unenviable task of going first, but after a nervous start, he really got into his stride and he finished his kata with a brilliant jump. There wasn’t a wobble in sight and Regan did a great job.
Our final 2014 winner Scott Galvin did not perform today. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury which has prevented him from training. Scott will be performing a Kata at the next big event we do. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him returning to full fitness soon.
Sam Jackson our 2013 Junior Male winner kindly stepped up to take his place and performed (arguably) the most difficult Kata in the Shotokan Kata syllabus – Unsu. Sam was as inspirational as ever and we are delighted that he got the opportunity to perform this as it has special meaning for him and the Jackson family. You did an exceptional job Sam and that is why you are still a star and still THE MAN!
These Katas were performed in front of approximately 250-300 people. It must have taken a lot of guts for these four youngsters to get up and perform so professionally, you didn’t let us down one bit and made us proud.
Now, onto their successors.
Everyone likes to place their bets on who they think deserve the top trophies, but the judgement is made by one person alone our Chief Instructor Paul Wolstencroft Sensei, who keeps his decision to himself all week – much to my annoyance!
It’s an impossible and thankless task as ultimately, there are a lot of people left disappointed and you cannot please everyone all the time. However, this time it’s safe to say that many of the predictions would have been correct as a special few people have had an incredible year of highs and lows, but all have shown strength of character and unwavering dedication to their Karate journey.
For these four, it is more than just a hobby. It is a passion, an upward trajectory of personal development and progression. They are not driven by medals or the praise of others. They are all driven by the desire to improve and become better versions of themselves. They are kind, giving and inspirational members of our club and we couldn’t be happier that they have had their tireless hard work rewarded with a huge trophy and the title of Student of the Year 2015.
These four are (left to right): Matthew Affleck, Molly Austin-Hogsden, Grace Baron and Robert Head.
Junior Female Award 2015 – Grace Baron
Grace Baron is a lovely young lady who comes from an equally wonderful family. She has been training for over 4 years and during that time she has transformed from a shy and quiet little girl who suffered terrible bullying; into a confident and exceptionally hard working young lady. Beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and a pleasure to teach. She is an outstanding Cadet Leader and such a focussed and determined student when training in line.
She does karate almost every day, yet never looks tired, bored or lazy. Her 2015 could be described as crazy, selected for the England Kata and Kumite Squad, earned her Shodan with the JKS, at competitions – got beaten up, but won Kata, got beaten up again, but won Kata again, got beaten up again and lost Kata and finished the year by coming 2nd in Kumite and 2nd in Kata.
There have been some real ups and downs but her determination, confidence and work rate just goes up and up. She has a lot to thank her Mum and Dad for as they are the ones who enable and support her in every challenge she chooses to take on. She was shocked to receive the trophy but she must have been the only one to be surprised. She’s been earning it all year.
Well done Grace and thanks to all the positive role models who have helped Grace along the way, the Instructors inside and outside of our Club who make sure she started on the right path (Sensei Jonathon Walls) and those who make sure she is continually improving (especially Mike Baron Sensei who makes sure that those feet stay firmly on the ground!). Stay humble, continue your hard work and we look forward to seeing our Champ doing her demo!
Adult Award 2015 – Robert Head
It will take Rob about six months to actually process in his head that he has won this award. We have no idea why he lacks confidence and self belief, when he is able not only to perform karate so impressively – but he has the ability to make others believe and be confident in themselves.
Rob is always helping other people and inspiring them. He is there with wise words of encouragement, constructive feedback and unwavering support for those who train alongside him. This award is not just a popularity contest, although if it was – he would probably win that too. It is to recognise when somebody has a special talent. Rob has such a positive attitude, he is hard working and has improved tremendously throughout 2015.
He has approached his training with more focus and determination and has really had to battle some demons to put himself through Instructor training and become what we all know he would be an absolute natural at – a nurturing and dedicated Instructor. He works hard outside of karate and has had to juggle a lot of commitments to make sure that he could benefit from everything we have on offer here at Red Tiger. Hopefully, Rob receiving this award will finally give him the self-confidence he needs to boost him towards teaching his own class, achieving his Nidan and continuing his remarkable rate of progression.
An awesome Karateka and a true gent. Well done.
Kyu Grade Award – Molly Austin-Hogsden
As we have said in the past, the Kyu grade award is all about recognising somebody who is coming through the ranks who has raw but extraordinary talent. Molly has joined us from a Club in Spain and we can only liken this signing to somebody like Kevin De Bruyne joining Manchester City or Anthony Martial joining Manchester United, she was good before, but now she’s amazing and we are very lucky and very grateful to have her.
Mike Baron Sensei and Grace have worked so hard with Molly and developed her Karate into another league. She puts herself out of her comfort zone and trains at the toughest classes, with the highest grades in order to gain experience and grow. She is a brown belt of the highest calibre and recently came 2nd in Kata and 3rd in Kumite at the JKS Nationals which is incredible as she was up against far more experienced Black Belt competitors.
Molly is a warm, friendly and polite. She has no idea just how good at karate she is and there is so much more potential to unlock. An incredible student and a flawless choice by Sensei Paul. We are looking forward to your demo already.
Junior Male Award – Matthew Affleck
It was only last week we were congratulating Matthew on his excellent performance at his first kyu grading but this week he has gone one better – by becoming the top young male in our Club and he is not even a Black Belt yet.
Matthew is extraordinarily talented and naturally gifted. He is as good at kata as he is at kumite and you will NEVER see Matthew being lazy, messing around or choosing not to concentrate. It would not be an exaggeration to call Matthew a young prodigy.
He is 100% committed to his training and sets an excellent example to others. He was the Grand Champion for his age group when he entered the JKS Novice Competition earlier this year, winning both Kata and Kumite. This did not affect Matthews training or attitude at all, he is hungry for success but it doesn’t consume him. He enjoys his training regardless and we know that students this good, with this kind of attitude are few and far between. He is very humble and appreciative of everything he gets.
Matthew is an inspirational Cadet Leader and there is no doubt that he will do an exceptional demonstration and this trophy won’t change him one bit. Well done.
We awarded all of our dedicated Instructor team large trophies to reward them for all their hard work this year. Your Club is only as good as your team and our team is the best. Thank you all.
Below is a list of all the students who were nominated by their Instructors and won awards in their dojos. Huge congratulations to you all and thanks for being part of our special day.
|John O Donovan|
|Molly Austin Hogsden|
|Zak Thomas Blackhurst|