APRIL DAN GRADING

10 successful dan grade passes

Wednesday 13th April saw 10 Karate players from the Bishops Stortford and Stansted Shotokan Karate Ryu (SKR) gather at their Stansted dojo for a black belt (Dan Grade) assessment before a grading panel of Senior English Karate Instructors Chaired by Sensei Dave Sharkey (8th Dan) one of Europe’s top Karate practitioners.

The examination started with Kihon Renshu (basic combinations) given rapidly in Japanese. The test of basic combinations and Japanese terminology was intense, and candidates were required to perform without rest for 15 minutes.

This was quickly followed by each candidate performing their grading Kata (formal exercise). For 1st Dan (Black belt) this required candidates to know 11 Kata, for the three 2nd Dan candidates this required them to know 17 Kata.

With barely time to catch their breath candidates partnered up for Kumite (sparring), defending against punches to head and body, and a series of kicks, including Mae-Geri (front kick), Yoko-Geri (side kick), Mawashi-Geri (roundhouse kick), Ushiro-Geri (turning kick) and Ashi-barai (leg sweep). All attacking and techniques thrown at full speed and power.

For the final stage of the assessment candidates donned hand guards and gum shields for free style matches against consecutive opponents. After 30 bouts Sensei Sharkey called “Yamae” (finish) and the candidates were sent out so that the panel could discuss the outcome of the grading.

On returning to hear the panel’s decision, Sensei Sharkey awarded Shodan (1st Dan black belt) to: Laura Herrod (28), Chris Seal (51), Neil Crawford (17), Ryan Seal (15), Ethan Seal (13), Jack Ring (10), Ryan Ring (10). Sensei Sharkey praised Laura Herrod for a fantastic Mawashi-Geri (roundhouse kick) and Chris Seal for his fighting ability.

Sensei Sharkey also awarded 2nd Dan to: Kevin Mauroo (48), Shaun Jackson (42) and Tom Mauroo (13), and commented: “The Shotokan Karate Ryu is one of the outstanding clubs in England, with a standard of Karate that is 2nd to none. Dan gradings are designed to be tough, to test the calibre of students to the extreme, but SKR students keep rising to the challenge getting better and better each year.”

After the grading, Chris Seal thanked Sensei Michael and Sensei Donna with these words “I have trained on and off for many years with different clubs never really advancing. Both of you have inspired and encouraged me to pursue my black belt, and the boys getting theirs on the same night was the icing on the cake.”

“The Shotokan Karate Ryu is one of the outstanding clubs in England, with a standard of Karate that is 2nd to none. Dan gradings are designed to be tough, to test the calibre of students to the extreme, but SKR students keep rising to the challenge getting better and better each year.”

Sensei Sharkey

8th Dan

“I have trained on and off for many years with different clubs never really advancing. Both of you have inspired and encouraged me to pursue my black belt, and the boys getting theirs on the same night was the icing on the cake.”

Chris Seal