On Wednesday 10th October 2012 four students from the Shotokan Karate Ryu (SKR) gathered at the St John’s Dojo in Stansted Mountfitchet to attempt their 1st Dan (Black Belt).
The examination (Grading) panel was chaired by Sensei Dave Sharkey (8th Dan), one of the most Senior Karate-ka in Europe, Chief Instructor of the English Karate Organisation (EKO) and Chairman of the European Karate Organisation Governing Body (EKOGB). Also on the panel was Sensei Michael Ring (5th Dan), the Chief Instructor of the Shotokan Karate Ryu (SKR). The panel was assisted by Sensei Donna Ring (3rd Dan).
The grading commenced with Kihon (basics) where Dan grade candidates were asked to perform at full speed and power a sequence of five or more techniques given in Japanese by Sensei Sharkey. The rapid fire combinations came thick and fast, and the Dan grade candidates performed well.
The students were then asked to demonstrate their Grading Kata (formal exercise) chosen from the 11 first Dan Kata. They were then asked to perform Kata of the examiners choice from the same list.
Students then partnered up for the Kumite (sparring drills), performing defences against full speed and power attacks to: Jodan (face), Chudan (Body), and Keri (kicking), including Mae Geri (front kick), Yoko Geri (side kick), Mawashi Geri (Roundhouse kick), Ushiro Geri (turning kick) and Ashi Barrai (leg sweep).
The final stage of the grading involved free style Kumite (sparring) where students had to fight 3 or more opponents at full speed and power, demonstrating the ability to both attack and defend using good control.
At the end of the grading the panel convened to discuss the performance of the Dan grade candidates agreed the following results: David Clark (51), Imahd Ahemd (14) and Ismail Ahmed (15) from the Stansted Mountfhitchet Dojo 1st Dan Black Belt. David Sandford (31) who had travelled up from London to attend the Grading also passed 1st Dan.
Sensei Sharkey commented: “This was another excellent result. The students attempting black belt demonstrated the strong technique and excellent control I have come to expect from Sensei Michael’s clubs. The already high standards at black belt continue to improve. I was very pleased with the robust and spirited display of traditional Karate-do.”