Sunday 10th saw us attending our first big course since returning from the Covid-19 lockdown, and what a course to return to! It saw a good showing from the club with Lucy, Tom and Will V attending the brown belt session to begin with under the instruction of Alan Campbell Sensei (7th Dan) and I’m sure they had a fantastic session, but we didn’t get to see it as our Dan grades showed up later for the senior training session.
We had a good group of Dan grades attending from the club with Mike Sensei leading the way we had Ian T, Jim, Holly, Paul B and Ben there as well as a welcome return to big courses from Ian Shaw Sensei. Again under the guidance of Alan Sensei we began with some drills aiming to relax our movements while punching both from Choku Tsuki and then stepping into stance and moving forwards. Following this we moved on to some similar kicking drills focusing of the fundamentals of kicking a correct Mai Geri, from correct foot pick up and high knee position to use of hips and the stepping down all together. The session was then ended on the with some relaxed kumite drills with the focus on being relaxed and waiting till the last minute for the defence and utilising both hands in the block and counter strikes.
After the training had finished we had a brief break while the hall was set up for the afternoons Dan gradings to take place, first up to the mark were the Shodan gradings and our very own Tom and Lucy were leading the way for the club both performing well throughout their Khion, Kata and Kumite (Basics, Pattern and Sparring) we could tell that they were both nervous leading up to the start of the grading but as soon as they stepped out onto the floor they were straight into karate mode and they didn’t let their nerves show. As the results were announced after the grading it was clear all the hard work they did paid off as both of them attained their Shodan and well deserved they are, now for Tom and Lucy its time to consolidate what they’ve learn over their karate journey so far and carry on with their training moving forward.
Last up was Ben, who despite his trademark confidence was showing signs of nerves. After a somewhat shaky start to Bassai Dai, he quickly settled down to deliver a strong performance. He seems to really enjoy his kumite bouts and comfortably handled all that was thrown at him. He has earned his Nidan, and like Tom and Lucy now has the opportunity to settle into his karate and to embed the fundamentals lessons from all the hard training that they have put into the preparation to the grading.
After the events of the day, several of us retired for a few celebratory drinks in the local hostelry to celebrate all the success from the day!
A massive thank you to Paul Sensei at Selby Shotokan karate club for hosting and running the event, to Alan Sensei for his instruction and to Alan, Matt Price, Steve Carless and Mike Gude Sensei for sitting on the panel to examine the gradings.