BWCSK and Kenshin Kyu Gradings – December 2023

Over the weekends of the 2nd December 2023 and 9th December 2023 BWCSK held the end of year gradings with students from the BWCSK Longbridge and Weoley Castle dojos and Kenshin Stechford dojo attending. The gradings were held at the usual location of the Longbridge dojo situated within the Bournville College (South and City College Birmingham) Urban fitness Sports Hall.

The first date was for beginner’s to red belts (with a few higher grades who couldn’t make the following weekend also grading) and the second date was for yellow belts and above. Whilst unfortuantely this time around a couple of students did not meet the required standard to pass their grading on the day never forget that just putting yourself forward to be grading takes courage as the pass is not guaranteed. Many karate-ka over the years have failed gradings (some multiple times) the ones who bounce back and come back training harder, determined not to fail again eventually achieve their goal. A very senior graded black belt instructor I know will often tell you that they failed their shodan multiple times but followed shihan Cummin’s motto of “never give in, never give up” and came back each time stronger until they passed. Well sone to those who passed we were pleased with the overall standard, effort and endeavour you all put in. A special mention for young Laura who took and passed her red belt grading all on her own at the Kenshin dojo on the Friday night. gradings are terrifying enough at that age never mind doing the grading on your own but she didn’t let that phase her and did very well.

The club is now closed until the second week of January so we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Have a well deserved rest after a year of hard training and we will see you all next year.

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Group Photo Grading

Kyu Gradings – September 2023

BWCSK held their September Kyu Gradings at the Longbridge Dojo over two weekends on Saturday 16th Sepetember and Satirday 23rd September 2023.This was a relatively small grading coming straight after the summer break with only a sinle student from Kenshin SKC and a small number of BWCSK students. Well done to everyone who took a grading over the last couple of weekends. Gradings are never easy when you have to perform in front of everyone and you all did extraordinarily well to take the examinations.

Thanks as always to all those who helped make this day happen in the background doing all the admin and to all the instructors who helped get people ready for today.

Richard & Sue

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Kenshin students and instructors in kamae stance Grading

Kenshin Kyu Gradings – July 2023

We held the July 2023 Kenshin SKC gradings at their home Stechford Leisure Centre dojo due to the travel disruption as a result of strikes and inclement weather for the March gradings. These were held over the course of two Friday evening sessions for the lower and more advanced grades. Senseis Mike, Jacob and Richard were pleased with how you applied yourself to the grading especially as the senior grades grading was postponed the night before the original date due to one of the examiner’s suffering a family bereavement which would have thrown many as they had prepared for the grading on that date.


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Kyu Gradings – June 2023

The BWCSK Kyu gradings took place on the weekends of the 10th June 2023 and the 17th June 2023 with a few additional students who couldn’t attend those days grading at the Weoley Castle dojo in week around those dates. Well done to all of you who passed your gradings all the instructors were pleased with the standard of karate shown. As i always say no grading is easy and especially for the younger children they can be quite stressful but you all did yourself proud.

Special thanks to Harvey who assisted on Ava’s grading for the sparring.

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Group photo of Intermediate grades March 2023 grading Grading

Kyu Gradings – March 2023

Over the weekends of the 11th and 18th March 2023 Birmingham & Weoley Castle Shotokan Karate along with our sister club Kenshin Shotokan Karate Club in Stechford held the Kyu Grading examinations for March 2023. As usual we had students of all ages, grades and abilities testing themselves to continue their karate journey and hopefully advance in grade. We were very pleased with the effort everybody put in to give their best in what any of us who have graded know is a very stressful situation. So as instructors we would like to say well done to everybody who took their grading and congratulations to all those who passed.

We would like to thank all of the instructors and admin team who volunteer their time to help make this happen and organise things on the day. This grading we would like to give a special mention to Becky Clarke who came in on a landmark birthday to help out on the gradings. We had a little presentation of a card and cake for her and a rendition of Happy Birthday to mark the occasion before commencing the gradings and we wish her a happy birthday.

Below are a few pictures from the two days.

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BWCSK / Kenskin SKC Group Photo Grading

Kyu & Dan Gradings November 2022

As we reach the end of another year it has again come time for the final set of Kyu & Dan Gradings at Bornville College. This year the previous September and December gradings were combined into a single grading in November 2022 to allow more time after the summer holidays for students to prepare and cater for grading examiners availability. The gradings in November 2022 were again run over two consecutive Saturdays with the first week for red belts and below and the second for yellow belt and above. For these gradings we were joined by our sister club Kenshin Shotokan Karate Club based in Stechford (formerly headed by the late Sensei Franklyn Doras 6th Dan who was another former student our late sensei, Shihan Cummins). For almost a year now we have been providing instruction at Kenshin SKC since Sensei Hession took over as its new Chief Instructor with Sensei Jacob McBride taking the lead role and Sensei Michael Paul regularly providing additional support and Lorraine Doras continuing the role as club secretary with other BWCSK sensei attending occasionally. This was the first grading in many months and in some cases almost two years for the members of Kenshin SKC so nerves were running higher than usual combined with it being the first time of meeting many BWCSK students and other personnel. We are pleased to say it was a successful grading with a handful of students across both clubs achieving a double grading.

We are also pleased to announce two additions to the ranks of BWCSK black belts with Martha Newman and Phoebe Hadley both passing their 1st Dan gradings at the Weoley Castle dojo on Thursday night. Both these young ladies have worked extremely hard over many years to reach this point and have put in even greater efforts over the last few months in preparation for their grading day showing great dedication to their training and always looking to learn new things. Martha joins her father and brother amongst the ranks of the clubs yudansha forming a mini family dynasty. Below are photos taken on the various grading dates in November.

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June 2022 Gradings Awards & Presentations

Kyu and Dan Gradings: June 2022

After the bumper turnout for the March gradings the June 2022 gradings were split over two weekends at our Bournville College dojo. This allowed the gradings to proceed at a far less hectic pace than the previous gradings which was far less stressful for those grading and the examiners. The first gradings were held on Saturday 11th June for beginners to red belts. The gradings went well with our students having diligently studied for the gradings over the previous months showing a good standard throughout.

The second weekend of gradings were on Saturday 18th June 2022 and covered the remaining Kyu grades and Dan gradings. This grading day started off with a presentation of Dan grade certificates for those who had passed their gradings in March and had a special presentation by Sensei Richard Amuzu of a black belt for Sensei Hession for her promotion to Godan (5th Dan) on behalf of the club. After the presentations the Kyu gradings began and again Sensei Sue and I were pleased with the standard shown by all. Finally there was a second dan grading for Natalia Bak who we are pleased to announce passed her Nidan grading.

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  • Natalia 2nd Dan Grading
  • Saturday 18th June 2022 - Kyu Grades
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Awards & Presentations

Kyu & Dan Gradings: March 2022

We held our first post covid restrictions Kyu and Dan gradings this month which is the start of a more normal grading cycle going forward. The grading day itself was on Saturday 19th March 2022 at the Longbridge dojo . In a return to the more normal schedule we were able to have a training session running along with the gradings. However, even we were slightly surprised when we saw everyone lined up from one end of the hall to the other.

The proceedings started with the presentation of Dan grade certificates for those who passed in the December grading.

The kyu gradings started with the brown belts and went down the grades so as to give everyone an idea of what happens as many had either not experienced a full grading with everyone gathered in the same location or it had been quite a while in front of that many people and their family members. The gradings themselves went well with a high standard maintained by all. Unfortunately the sheer number of people meant we overran the time allocated and were unable to present all the kyu grades with their certificates on the day. So these have been distributed on classes this week.

As the venue was closing we had to secure an alternative location to complete the dan gradings, luckily my gym, Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing were able to provide a place to conduct the gradings, the place n fact that Sensei Hession and myself had spent many an hour training with Shihan Cummins. Dan gradings are always very stressful affairs candidates have spent years training to reach that point and people failing is not uncommon so the possibility of their grading having to be postponed and then to relocate to an unfamiliar location at short notice to take the grading should not be underestimated in terms of extra pressure. I am however pleased to say that both candidates that day rose to the occasion despite the extra difficulties and performed well to pass their shoran and aidan gradings respectively.

On the Monday we had a small wrap-up grading to cover those who for various good reasons were unable to take the grading on the weekend. This consisted of a handful of kyu gradings and a couple of Junior dan gradings. Again we were pleased with the effort shown and the focus and quality in the dan gradings.

We would like to congratulate all those who took their gradings, we all remember what it’s like so well done. We extend special congratulations to Stephanie Waldron who passed her shodan (1st dan) and Michael Paul who passed his nidan (2nd dan)  on the Saturday and Seth Newman and Kyree Notice who both passed their shodan.


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Girls kicking Grading

Kyu & Dan Gradings – December 2021: Well done…

Over the course of the month we conducted the December 2021 grading examinations for Kyu and Dan grades. Firstly we would like to thank everyone for their support for these as we had to change the initially planned date due to one of the venues deciding to close for the Christmas break earlier than initially expected. This meant we had to conduct the examinations when people were available on various training nights.

As instructors we were very pleased with the standard shown and the effort and dedication you all put in preparing for and taking your gradings. We would like to congratulate each and every one of you who took a grading this month. We know these can seem quite daunting especially for the first grading which it was for many involved. So well done you did us all proud.

We would like to extend special congratulations to Leonard Jones and Daniel Ray who both passed their Nidan (2nd dan), Kasey Stanley (who completed her grading having taken the first two thirds under the easing of lockdown restrictions that meant she was unable to do the humite elements until now) , Shanai Stanley and May Smith who all passed their Shodan (1st dan) black belt gradings.


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September 2021 Kyu Gradings.

Well done to everyone who took their grading on the 25th September and to those who came to train whilst the gradings were happening. People always talk about taking their black belt gradings as being difficult but many forget those first few kyu gradings are terrifying in their own right as it is all very new and you haven’t yet learnt what to expect. We were very pleased with the standard shown and the amount of effort everyone has put in to reach this point. A special mention for Kayleigh Emmison who graded to 7th kyu.

Congratulations to all again.

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