Black belts with their instructors after their grading Grading

We Passed! Kyu & Dan Gradings June 2021

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for all the students at BWCSK. As more coronavirus health restrictions were eased since the initial return to dojo training we were able to conduct our first full kyu and dan gradings. The gradings took place on three separate dates in order to try and give everyone who was ready and wished to the chance to take their gradings.  First up were a small group of juniors who took various kyu gradings from beginners to brown belts on the Thursday evening. There was a palpable sense of nervousness as the first group to grade lined up in the main hall of the Weoley Castle dojo waiting for their grading to begin.  Everyone has worked hard to get to that point and they all know that the result depends on how they perform at that moment.  We have all been there worrying if we will make a mistake or worse still go completely blank when we have to do our kata. However despite the nerves they soon got into the rhythm of the grading and their months of training kicked in and in the end everyone who graded that day was able to overcome their nerves and pass.

Next up was the main kyu gradings day that took place at the Bournville College dojo. This is a big hall that brought a bigger sense of occasion to the proceedings. Again there was the nervousness in the air but also a tangible sense of excitement as for many this was their first grading since starting. After some initial presentations  of renewed assistant instructor certificates and licenses to Sensei Michael Paul and Sensei Jacob McBride the day got underway. First there was a training session followed by the start of the gradings. There were a large number of gradings including our youngest student at five years old but everyone rose to the occasion and gave it their all and reaped the rewards of their dedication.

Finally with a weeks gap since the previous grading the advanced students going for grades from 1st kyu to 2nd dan gathered at Weoley Castle on Monday night. Due to the pandemic when some of those present took their shodan (1st dan) grading late last year they were unable to complete the full syllabus so as a club we decided to take the approach that  if they were able to pass the initial two thirds of the grading syllabus that was permitted under the rules in force at that time they could wear a black belt but until the final third was complete the grade would not be registered. So we had a few people who had come to complete their shodan grading. Also we had a number of existing shodan black belts who had been waiting until they could take a complete nidan (2nd dan) grading once restrictions were eased. Black belt gradings are never easy and failing part or all of the grading is not uncommon hence people usually take these after months of intense training once they are eligible which is several years between belts. Due to the unique circumstances of lock downs and restrictions this wasn’t possible which undoubtedly made a very stressful grading even harder than usual. The step up from brown belts to a black belt is a significant step and as you would expect the standard expected for each dan grade increases significantly to reflect the number of additional years of training and expected improvements in knowledge and technique. The techniques are complex, the sparring ferocious and the standard expected throughout is high, in an exam designed to test you both physically and mentally. As you’d expect with so many years training riding on a relatively short grading and the need to perform at your peak, you could feel the tension in the air. A black belt grading is a roller coaster of emotions as you examine every little thing you feel wasn’t quite right in the gaps between sections and switch between feelings of possible success and certain failure.  I am pleased to say that everyone succeeded in their goal and passed.

Well done everyone who graded, you did yourselves and your senseis proud. Special congratulations to our newest members of the yudansha who have achieved the rank of Shodan:

  • Lincoln Boult
  • James Newman
  • Paul Weston

We’d like to extend our very heartiest congratulations to the following students who achieved the rank of Nidan:

  • Angela Notice
  • Jacob McBride
  • Jiannan Yin

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Grading

Gradings – October & November 2020

Shortly before the announcement of the November 2020 national lock down we had started preparing for and taking some grading examinations. Due to the covid-19 health restrictions these couldn’t be conducted in the same manner as our previous gradings. We were also able to present Arran Mehtam’s Shodan certificate from his dan grading before the initial March 2020 lock down which due to circumstances had not been possible until now.

We would like to congratulate all those who passed their gradings. This has been an especially difficult year with training disrupted, moving online for several months and then restrictions upon our return to the dojo however all those who graded overcame these obstacles to reach a level where they were ready to take a grading. We have also had some new starters since the end of the first lock down and again they have done extraordinarily well in very difficult circumstances. Finally we would like to offer special congratulations to all those who took their dan gradings. These are hard enough at the best of times with people normally training extensively for months just before the grading to reach their peak in time. This was obviously not really possible given the current circumstances and just to the announcement of the second national lock down the date was then moved forward for some of those grading by a couple of weeks so it could be completed before the current lock down started as we were not sure when the opportunity might next arise.  We would like to again say congratulation and very well done to you all.

Congratulations to the following on passing their Shodan grading:

  • Paul Weston
  • James Newman
  • Kasey Stanley
  • Lincoln Boult

  • Kyu and Dan Gradings -  27/10/2020, 29/10/2020 and 3/11/2020
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As is the case with all clubs and associations we had to make a decision on how we would undertake gradings in the time of covid-19 health restrictions. To that end the syllabus was revised and we took the decision that we would only award ‘ho’ grades  rather than full kyu grades (denoted by stripes on most pre-purple belts). In the case of black belt gradings which usually consist of three parts kihon waza, kata and kumite, we decided to allow people to take two thirds and if they passed those they could wear a black belt. If they failed to pass both parts then they will have failed the grading outright as would normally be the case and will have to retake the entire grading at some point in the future. However for those who passed the kihon waza and kata sections these can be considered provisional grades which wont be fully confirmed until they are able to complete the remaining part of the grading when Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions are suitably relaxed to allow the return of kumite. We are aware that this could be a long time but we feel that some form of kumite is an essential part of a black belt grading especially for Shodan where the student hasn’t undergone the experience of black belt grading kumite. These grading changes seemed to be a fair compromise that allowed students to progress and have their hard work and training rewarded something that is especially important during the early stages of the karate journey. This helped ensure that we are also able to maintain the integrity of our gradings so that those who take their black belt during this time know when their grades are confirmed  and registered that they truly earnt their dan grade as those who have gone before them overcoming the same obstacles in the examinations as their predecessors something we feel all will value.

Grading

The Return Of The Karate-Ka

Well a new new routine has settled in since we have returned to the dojo so it seemed a good time to do a round up of the journey so far.The Longbridge dojo is yet to reopen but we are currently running classes on Mondays, Tuesdays (an extra night whilst Longbridge is still closed) and Thursdays at the Weoley Castle dojo. Since the return we have had a few junior students who trained throughout the lockdown on zoom take socially distanced kyu gradings under an adapted syllabus. We would like to congratulate all of you on your new grades, you’ve trained hard over the last few months despite the challenging circumstances and progressed. We have also had some new starters who we would like to welcome to the club as they take their first steps on their karate journey.

More generally we have been having classes consisting on basics and kata, going over some of the new things taught during lockdown and having a refresher on previous dojo teachings. Some of the more advanced kata covered have included Tekki Nidan, Sochin, Kanku Dai, Kanku Sho, Jitte, Hangetsu and Bassai Dai with lots of revision of the Heian kata and Tekki Shodan as well. I think we are all enjoying being able to train without worrying about hitting or breaking your furniture or computer (some of those kicks during lockdown did come dangerously close to the camera).

Here are a few pictures taken since our return.

  • August 2020 Weoley Castle Dojo
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  • September 2020 Weoley Castle Dojo
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Grading

Special Congratulations Arran on passing your Shodan Grading

We would like to offer special congratulations to Arran Mehtam who passed his Shodan grading on Saturday. Arran has shown great spirit and trained very hard to achieve this goal. The fact that he has listened to feedback he has been given and worked to improve on areas that needed it was very evident in his performance on the grading. He graded in front of a panel consisting of Sensei Susan Hession 4th dan, Sensei Richard Amuzu 4th dan and Sensei Michael Paul 1st dan who stepped in to help with the kumite. Well done Arran!

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Grading

March 2020 Kyu Gradings

Well done to everyone who took their gradings on Wednesday or Saturday. You all did very well and Sensei Sue, Sensei Richard and all the instructors were very pleased with the effort, standard and commitment shown.

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Awards & Presentations

December 2019 Kyu Gradings and End of Year Awards

Well done to everyone who graded tonight, it ended up being a long grading evening but you all approached it brilliantly giving your best efforts when called upon and showed great spirit. A special mention for Amy who did an unprecedented triple grading to yellow belt and Madgdi, Dylan and Seth who double graded. None of them knew they were potentially going to do multiple gradings today but as always we take note on class and see how people do when pushed beyond what is expected and if we are very impressed we may call people up to attempt an extra grade after the one they were expecting to do.

We also held are end of year awards after the gradings revealing who won this years Student of the Year. Special congratulations to Kyree Notice who was awarded this year’s club shield for most improved student. This was presented by last years winner Lincoln Boult who received a smaller personalised shield to permanently keep.

Grading

Kyu Gradings September 2019

On Wednesday 18th September 2019 the BWCSK September gradings were held at the Longbridge dojo with Senseis Sue Hession 4th dan, Richard Amuzu 4th dan, Faye Tonkinson 2nd dan in attendance on the panel with a guest appearance by Sensei Austin Birks 5th dan.

Everyone did very well and we were very pleased with the standard on display.  A special mention for our two senior white belts who double graded to red belt.

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Grading

Special Congratulations passing your Dan gradings!

Special congratulations to our newest shodan (1st dan) and two new sandan (3rd dan) black belts who passed their gradings on Wednesday 19th June 2019. They took their grading under the watchful eye of the panel consisting of  Sensei Austin Birks 5th dan, Sensei Susan Hession 4th dan, Sensei Richard Amuzu 4th dan and Sensei Dorien Cummins 2nd dan  (widow of our late sensei and club founder Shihan Cyril Cummins 8th dan).

It had been over eight years since some of them had previously graded but they have shown dedication and determination in their training to reach this point. They had a tough grading which tests character as much as technique and all passed admirably.

Well done Angela Notice – Shodan, Hanna B. – Sandan and Sensei Jeffett Jenkins – Sandan.

Grading

Kyu Gradings June 2019 – Well done!

Congratulations to all those who took and passed their kyu gradings on Wednesday evening, it was quite a long session in the end but you all did really well.

We were very pleased with all the hard work and spirit shown today.

Sensei Richard & Sensei Sue.

Kyu Grading June 2019
Grading

Special congratulation to our newest black belts!

Special congratulations to our newest yudansha. This evening as a culmination of years of dedication and hard work Elijah Farrel-Reid, Libby Conway, Natalia Bak and Rouédel Farrel-Reid passed their shodan (1st Dan) black belt grading. They all exhibited a very high standard whilst taking what is always a challenging and grueling examination.

We know how hard you have all worked to achieve this grade and on behalf of everyone at BWCSK and from Sensei Sue and Sensei Richard we would like to say very well done to you all.

We would also like to congratulate everyone who passed their kyu gradings this evening. We were very pleased with the standard on display as a result of all of your persistence, hard work and diligent training. Well done from Sensei Sue, Sensei Richard and all of the BWCSK team.