OCTOBER dan GRADING
3 shodan & 3 NIdan passES
Saturday 7th October saw 6 anxious 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. With a combined experience of over 100 years in karate-do the panel was Chaired by Sensei Dave Sharkey (8th Dan) one of Europe’s most senior 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 20 minutes. With barely time to catch their breath this was quickly followed by each candidate performing their chosen grading Kata (formal exercise). Dan grade candidates are required to know the 5 Dan Kata for their grade plus all the previous Kata to black belt. For 1st Dan (Black belt) candidates must know 12 Kata and for 2nd Dan candidates must know 17 Kata.
Candidates then 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. The candidates had to perform these defences with a partner and also in groups with attacks coming from different directions. After a barrage of attacks and counters, kick and punches, Sensei Sharkey called Yamae (finish) and the candidates had only a minutes respite to prepare for the final stage of their grading, Free fighting.
The final test in a Dan grading when candidates are physically and mentally tired is Shiai Kumite (free fighting). Candidates must demonstrated their fighting ability and showed the effective power and control of their techniques fighting 3 or more consecutive opponents. An avalanche of explosive techniques and combinations followed as each candidate was called forward to compete in a 1 on 1 match with a fellow Dan grade candidate. Sensei Sharkey called Yamae (Finish) after a series of blistering confrontations where years of hard training and practiced use of control alone prevented injury to the combatants.
Having discussed the performance of each Dan grade candidate the panel agreed unanimously the following results: Severin Fleet (10), Ben Mellors (13) and Tim Mellors (51) from the Bishops Stortford Dojo were award 1st Dan Black Belt. Apostolis Zacharatos (42), Jacqui Mauroo (53) and Wesley Berry (41) who train across both the Stansted and Bishops Stortford Dojos passed 2nd Dan Black Belt.
Sensei Sharkey commented: “The Shotokan Karate Ryu is one of the outstanding clubs in England, with the highest standards of Karate from students and instructors. The Shotokan Karate Ryu has a standard at black belt that any club would be proud of. I have immensely enjoy visiting the club over the last 14 years for Dan Gradings to watch the excellent standards of Karate. I know the club Sensei’s will continue to maintain standards to the benefit of the club and Karate-do as a whole.”
“The Shotokan Karate Ryu is one of the outstanding clubs in England, with the highest standards of Karate from students and instructors. The Shotokan Karate Ryu has a standard at black belt that any club would be proud of. I have immensely enjoy visiting the club over the last 14 years for Dan Gradings to watch the excellent standards of Karate. I know the club Sensei’s will continue to maintain standards to the benefit of the club and Karate-do as a whole.”