OCTOBER DAN GRADING

100th Black Belt Pass

Wednesday 5th October saw 4 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 2nd Dan candidates this required them to know 17 Kata, and for 3rd Dan candidates this required them to know 21 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. After a barrage of attacks and counters, kick and punches, Sensei Sharkey called Yamae (finish) and the candidates had on a minutes respite to prepare for the final stage of their grading, Free fighting.

Dan grade candidates donned mitts and gum shields for the first time in the examination as they mentally prepared themselves for Jiyu Kumite (free sparring) where they would have to face 3 or more consecutive opponents attacking at full speed and power, and demonstrating the ability to both attack, defend and counter attack using good control. As Yamae was called on the final fight the candidates were allowed to rest while the panel retired to consider the Karate-do they had seen.

Having discussed the performance of each Dan grade candidate the panel agreed unanimously the following results: Ben Chan and Danielle Lewis (10) from the Bishops Stortford Dojo 1st Dan Black Belt. Paul Walton from the Stansted Mountfitchet Dojo passed 2nd Dan Black Belt. Fellow Karate-ka Stuart Trow from the  Stansted Mountfitchet Dojo passed 3rd Dan Black Belt.

This was a monumental grading for Chief-Instructor Sensei Michael Ring (6th Dan) as Karate-Ka Ben Chan became the 100th Student he has taught to black belt (1st Dan). A rare feat for any Karate instructor and the culmination of 18 years dedication of teaching traditional Karate for Sensei Ring.

Sensei Sharkey 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 the culmination of years of hard work and dedication both from the Karate-Ka and the instuctor. The fantastic achievement of 100 black belts is a heritage few Karate instructors can aspire to and one that any club would be proud of.”

“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 the culmination of years of hard work and dedication both from the Karate-Ka and the instuctor. The fantastic achievement of 100 black belts is a heritage few Karate instructors can aspire to and one that any club would be proud of.”

Sensei Sharkey

8th Dan