We held a JKS Technical Seminar and Dan grading with Head of JKS England Alan Campbell Sensei on Sunday 27th November at Thornleigh Salesian High School in Bolton.
This event was for Instructors and invited students only and over 70 people turned up to train. It was an excellent seminar focusing on the opening sequence of each Heain Kata and the bunkai application. Alan Sensei went into great detail and the students and Instructors were given the opportunity to practise on each each other. This was followed by the breakdown and repeated performances of Kata Bassai-Sho.
I think it is fair to say that everyone who attended learned a great deal and enjoyed the seminar. Our students and Instructors worked hard (as always) and were eager to impress which is something Alan Campbell Sensei thanked us for when closing out the seminar.
Thank you to each student and Instructor who attended and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
What followed was a very tense and nerve wracking Dan grading at which 10 students attempted the grade of Shodan and 6 students attempted the grade of Nidan.
They have been training hard for many years and the last few months in particular, attending extra sessions and doing everything they could to prepare themselves for this great opportunity.
There was a change around to the usual order with the Adult Shodans attempting Nidan going up first, followed by our juniors, then the students attempting Shodan. Although the majority of people were nervous, they approached the grading with determination, focus and confidence and each and every one of them did the Club proud.
Nobody could question the effort and spirit on show and we are pleased to report that we have 8 new Shodans and 5 new Nidans. These students and Instructors names have already been put on the Black Belt Roll of Honour so huge congratulations goes to you all.
Becoming a Black Belt brings with it a huge sigh of relief. A massive weight off your shoulders because you’ve finally earned that belt that you’ve always been chasing. Nothing left to prove, now others think you are good too – right?
Nothing changes. Absolutely nothing, you’ll still have loads to work on, forget things, you’ll still get a whooping in kumite and there’ll still be those same people further up the line for you to aspire to.
There’s still lots to learn and new Katas to work on. Shodan literally means “beginners level”. The pressure is off, but now the learning really begins. It’s just a lot more satisfying doing that learning, with that hard earned and long awaited Black Belt firmly tied round your waist.
Keep training, carry on learning and continue to enjoy your karate. Don’t be one of those people on that Black Belt Roll of Honour who USED to be a Black Belt. You lose what you don’t use and we can’t help you once you’ve quit. Set new goals, learn from others, learn how to help others follow in your footsteps. Wear that Black Belt with pride as it carries great responsibility. The responsibility to inspire others and become a better version of yourself. That is what our new Nidans did, and you should too.
There are extraordinary opportunities to within Red Tiger. We are always holding events to help you improve and provide competitions so that you can challenge yourself. As part of the JKS we are able to offer tuition from World-Class Instructors and WKF Champions, JKS Hombu Dojo Instructor visits, the chance to represent England and become a World Champion like Grace Baron, and you can even train in Japan. It’s all there for you, you just have to want it.
Our New JKS Shodans:
Millie and John Davies – Millie Davies joined our Club over 4 years ago after watching a School demonstration at Moorside Primary School in Swinton. She became quickly hooked on karate and it was clear for all to see that she was going to be a very special talent indeed. Dad John started soon after and since then, both have been very dedicated and supportive students at our Club. John is very talented and has always impressed at various events and gradings over the years, putting in 100% effort every time he trains. He has been a fantastic Assistant Instructor and is always enthusiastic about his training. He has been very patient and in some respects has had to work much harder than Millie to learn the syllabus and remember how everything should be done.
Millie is an extraordinary student, just so naturally gifted and graceful in the way that she moves – particularly when performing Kata. She was so fired up on her grading day and put in one of the stand-out performances on the day. Those who have the pleasure to teach her already know that Millie is one of the very best young girls in the Club. It was brilliant to see her prove this to everyone else watching on the day.
We are so pleased that they have achieved their Black Belts together with us at Red Tiger. They have always been side by side on this journey and there aren’t many people who can say they reached Black Belt together, at the first attempt, on the very same day. Amazing. Well done to you both and we hope that you continue to enjoy your training together and endeavor to improve further and achieve even more in the coming years.
Dave Riley – What a pleasure to see Dave Riley achieve his Black Belt after so many years of training and dedication. Dave was a very strong candidate on the day and approached the grading in a very calm and confident manner. He let his karate speak for itself and did really well. He didn’t put a single foot wrong and was very relieved to hear that he had passed the examination at his first attempt. Dave’s karate has improved so much over the years. He was so impressive on the grading day, very tidy, always in control and there is no doubt whatsoever that Dave’s karate would work for him if he ever needed it to. So strong and excellent technique. We are delighted for him and would hope that he continues to enjoy his training and continue to develop his karate now that he is part of the Black Belt club. Well done.
Nicole Chadwick – I cannot think of a better example of hard work, patience and consistent effort paying off. Nicole has been training for many years, she has always been quietly plugging away, very underrated, very shy but always really good. In the last couple of years she really has taken her karate to the next level and was so impressive on the grading day. Really sharp, really focused, confident and determined to succeed, it was greatly satisfying to watch. Nicole is a really lovely girl and deserves every bit of success that has come her way. She trains 3 times a week, every week. No excuses, no moaning, she just gets on with it and corrects everything you ask her to there and then. She has always shown very high ability and to see her achieving her potential at last was awesome. She is a great model in class and she has made her Sensei’s extremely proud. Got to say a huge thanks to Dad, he’s always been behind her every step of the way, encouraging and supportive but never pushy. A perfect Karate parent! Keep training and keep setting that great example, you are a star.
Molly Austin-Hogsden – Exceptional performance from an outstanding student. It was clear to see why Molly is Student of the Year 2015, JKS National Kata Champion and Red Tiger Kata and Kumite Champion for her age group. Molly is just one of the very best, no question. The focus she trained with on the grading day is the very same focus she trains with at every class. A pleasure to teach, phenomenally talented but most important of all, she remains humble and modest. Always trying to improve and never satisfied with where she is up to. There simply isn’t enough room on this page to describe how and why Molly is so good, but everyone who watch the grading must agree, she exuded confidence and her karate was (and always is) superb. It is days like these where we see what exceptionally students are made of, whether they crumble under pressure or rise to the occasion and Molly proved 100% she can handle pressure and just looks even better. Keep up the great work, lets see if you can make 2017 even better missus! Mike Baron Sensei’s first Black Belt student and wow, what a way to start!!!!!! Well done.
Derry Phillips – Derry did really well this time around and looked far more comfortable doing his Black belt with his class mates and in familiar surroundings. He’s always shown great promise and for his age is strong as they come. He likes his sparring, so for him to have to concentrate on bringing his Kihon and Katas up to scratch, it has taken a lot of patience and a lot of hard work and we are so pleased he’s got there. He looked more confident and determined at this grading and really does deserve his Black Belt. He may be able to relax a little now and we will see further improvement come as the pressure is off. Well done Derry, we are really proud of you. Great spirit and finishing something you started is never easy, but neither is life. You are a fighter all the way.
Jasmine Johnston – Jasmine is a really lovely young girl with a fun and bubbly character. This is exactly why we love her so much but it didn’t necessarily help her prepare for grading last time around. She is very talented and the panel knew that she was capable of more. However, after getting over the disappointment from last time, she returned full of determination and the desire to succeed. She has made massive improvement because she trains with more focus than ever before. Although she seemed a little nervous, Jasmine had fixed her mindset on getting that belt and there was no stopping her. She made all of her Instructors both past and present proud, she made her parents proud and should be very proud of herself. To come back fighting like she did at such a young age shows incredible strength of character, something that will help you many times later in life. Big thanks to Mum and Dad for the unwavering support, you guys are amazing too.
Keeley Barton – Another astonishing turn-around, Keeley has made immeasurable improvement over the last few months. It hurts to be so disappointed when you’ve tried so hard that the only way is up. Keeley’s karate hit rock bottom only for her to rise, stronger and more determined than ever before. It was all business in the grading. First to move, loudest Kiai, improved physical effort, she was making sure that she ticked all the boxes and it just couldn’t be another no. We are delighted to see that she passed and was back to normal with her happy beautiful smiley face after the grading was over. Extraordinary achievement and we can’t help thinking that the best of Keeley is still to come. Her potential is massive and we are looking forward to seeing you achieve more and more. Well done. Huge thanks to Mum and Dad who picked up the pieces and fired their girl back up. She really showed us that she is made of STRONG STUFF.
Our New JKS Nidans
Sam Jackson – Sam Jackson is arguably one of the best Nidan the Club has ever produced. He is an absolute dream to teach, you simply couldn’t ask for more. They don’t come more talented, more dedicated, more determined, more respectful, more modest or more hard working. He’s the first in the dojo practising and the last to leave. His talent is unquestionable and couple that with an unprecedented work ethic and you know you have a phenomenal and inspirational student indeed. I still remember his first ever class and Sensei Joni and I talking about how good he’ll be for about 15 minutes on the way home. Sam has it all. As good as he is at traditional karate, he chooses to challenge himself with competitive karate on a national level and after spending the last 18 months getting beaten, his dedication has never wavered and he has recently begun to medal and was picked to represent England at the World Championships. His performance at the grading was exceptional. His performance in class week in week out is exceptional and we are so lucky to have him training our Club and inspiring the next generation. He is as good at teaching as he is at training and sometimes when he is teaching a section in my class, I think I might as well go for a brew. Congratulations Sam, we know that karate is in your bones and you’ll continue to improve and work hard. Huge thanks to Kerrie and Mark who are so supportive, proud and enable him to achieve everything he does.
Paul Critchard – Paul Critchard Sensei has been training in karate for over 8 years. His journey started with his two sons and now he is the last Critchard standing (although it was great to see Dom all grown up and supporting his Dad). He has stuck with our Club through thick and thin, through syllabus changes and supported our Club and the students every step of the way. Paul Sensei has been training really hard for his Nidan, picked up the syllabus, studied the combinations and Katas in great detail and made the necessary improvements. There have been moments of frustration and forgetfulness along the way, which happens to us all. But to achieve Nidan is something that most people will never do. It is too hard or they can’t be bothered to try. Paul Sensei is a very strong minded (stubborn haha) person and once he set his mind to doing the grading, he worked really hard for it. His Kumite was very strong and although there was a little error (tolerance) on his Kata section, he looked relaxed and performed some good Katas. We are so pleased for Paul and know that it means a lot to him. Huge congratulations and we hope you are enjoying your well earned rest.
Benjamin Duckworth – What a journey, what a special young man. Every so often students will come along and you can’t help but really like them. They sort of find a little space in your heart and Ben has certainly done that with a few of us Instructors. He’s an exceptional young and talented karateka who has never had it easy. He has been training in our Club for over 8 years and has always been and still is completely mad for karate. He had a rough start to his karate journey, battling and beating cancer, he always struggled but never complained. Along the way he’s achieved absolutely loads of medals, awards, trophies and been to just about every event we hold to improve and test himself against others. In the last few years where his health has been excellent apart from the odd injury, his karate has improved immeasurably. He pays great attention to detail and meets his potential. He is very likeable and happy young man, a credit to his parents who must feel extremely proud of him. We push him hard because we know he has it in him to perform to an exceptional level and on the grading day, he did just that. Calm, confident and so experienced. An incredible grading from an inspirational young man. Well done.
Mike Baron Sensei – Mike Sensei is an awesome Karateka, there are no weak areas in his karate and he is such a hard worker. He shows great attention to detail and is a real perfectionist. Once he set his mind to attempting Nidan, he made sure he did everything possible to give himself a very strong chance even travelling to Japan and training at the Hombu dojo. Mike Sensei is a very dedicated Instructor, however he realises the importance of continuing to develop his own karate. He understands to be a great leader, you own training must come first and he really enjoys learning and working hard. His performance on the day was really confident and spirited. His Katas were excellent, his combinations were very impressive and he looked really sharp and well controlled in the kumite. He controlled the distance really well and looked like he loved every minute. Superb performance and one which I’m sure will have inspired others including me. Well done Mike Sensei, you were brilliant.
Christopher Dempsey – Chris has always been an exceptional student and we were so happy to see him return after a short break from training. He is a lovely, well mannered young man and we really missed him. You could really see how much he had missed it and was very quickly back in the dojo, loving his training. He has worked hard to make the necessary adjustments to his karate and has made a conscious effort to relax more. This has allowed him to improve the flow of his karate. He is an incredibly strong lad and has always been outstanding at kumite (perhaps a little overzealous at times but never intentionally). He showed an excellent range of techniques and showed really good control when sparring. Chris works hard and is focused in every class, he is an excellent role model and sets a great example to all the other teenagers. Keep up the great work Chris.
There were 3 students who passed two sections of the grading and have been asked to retake a section at the next opportunity. Nicci Adams did really well throughout the grading, strong combinations, nice Katas but did struggle at little with the Jiyu Ippon. She has been asked to return and redo her kumite section which by January will be Jiyu Kumite instead, something that she is much more comfortable doing and I’m sure will excel at given the next opportunity. Well done and lets work hard and finish what you started. Chris Eccles was also very unlucky not to pass. He showed strong combinations and very spirited kumite but has been asked to retake his Kata section. Preparation points must be worked on when performing shuto in kokusodachi, he will also benefit from slowing down his katas and not rushing from one move to the next. The Instructor team are willing and ready to help Chris and we know he will smash it next time around. Well done.
Emma Ginn Sensei performed really strong combinations and demonstrated excellent Katas but has been asked to work on her kumite and retake that section. After struggling with her recent injury she has been unable to practise much sparring so was not overly surprised at this outcome. She is very determined to make the improvement required to reach Nidan standard. Movement drills, combinations and work on explosive speed & power will help and we will work together to make her next attempt a successful one.
Huge thanks to everyone who took part and the spectators, friends and relatives who came to cheer everyone one the day. Thanks to all the Instructors for inviting their students and those who helped get students ready for this very special day.
Thanks to Alan Campbell Sensei and Wendy Preston for giving up their time to visit our Club. Thanks to Alan Sensei and Paul W Sensei for conducting the Dan grading here at Red Tiger. Thanks also to our friends from JKS Leyland Kevin Christopher Sensei and Neil Stringer for supporting our course. As always it was a pleasure to see you both.