Kyu & Dan Gradings, March 2024

The Kyu & Dan gradings, March 2024 were held at the Bournville College dojo (A.K.A. South & City College Birmingham – Longbridge Campus) over the weekends of the 16th and 23rd March with a few additional gradings taking place on Monday 25th at the Weoley Castle dojo. All of us at BWCSK would like to congratulate all those who passed their kyu gradings. Well done we were very pleased with the overall standard on display.

We also had three people going for different dan grades this time around and whilst two didn’t quite make it, I’d firstly like to congratulate all of them for choosing to request to take a black belt grading in the first place. Dan gradings are a considerably harder experience than kyu gradings by design and are the culmination of several years of training to reach the point to be able to even attempt the gradings. Many don’t pass at the first attempt but those who persist will eventually reach that goal and can reach heights many never expected, as a now high ranking sensei of mine will often tell people when describing their own karate journey. These gradings get increasingly more difficult with a greater degree of technical skill and knowledge required as you progress up the ranks.

We are very pleased to be able to offer our special congratulations Lincoln Boult who achieved his Nidan (2nd Dan) black belt. He had a very good grading and worked very hard over the last few years since passing his shodan at a relatively young age to reach this point.

We’d also like to thank Sensei Patrick Jones, 3rd Dan, another former student of Shihan Cyril Cummins and training partner of Sensei Richard Amuzu at Enso SKC for agreeing to come and help out on the grading.

Left to Right, Richard Amuzu 5th Dan, Patrick Jones 3rd Dan, Lincoln Boult 2nd Dan, Susan Hession 5th Dan, Tracy Boult 3rd Kyu, Michael Paul 2nd Dan
Left to Right, Richard Amuzu 5th Dan, Patrick Jones 3rd Dan, Lincoln Boult 2nd Dan, Susan Hession 5th Dan, Tracy Boult 3rd Kyu, Michael Paul 2nd Dan

Below is a selection of pictures from the grading days from our Flickr account

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Certificate presentation at Bournville college Awards & Presentations

Dan Grade Certificate Presentations For December 2022 Gradings

During the course of January we were able to present those who passed their black belt gradings in December their framed certificates and Nakmas qualified black belt register official registration cards plus a few students who were unable to pick up their Kyu grading certificates on the day. Congratulations again to Natalia Bak 2nd Dan, Martha Newman 1st Dan and Phoebe Hadley 1st Dan.

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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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  • Godan Belt Presentation
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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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!


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.


Lyndsay Daly 2nd Dan Presentation

At the last grading, Lyndsay Daly who has been training at Weoley Castle Shotokan Karate Club for a number of years, passed her 2nd Dan. Here, Sensei Hession is presenting her with her Nakmas grading certificate. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement, Lyndsay!


Lyndsay Daly 2nd Dan