E.S.K.K Martial Arts and Fitness has evolved a lot over the last 12 months. New dojo were formed for Sunday and Saturday classes as well as the regular Monday class. It was indicative of the group's success and increase in numbers that the December grading held on Sunday 9th had record numbers of students challenging their grade; so much so that we had to use a new venue - even though it was twice the size of our usual venue, it was pretty much packed out!
It all made for an electrifying atmosphere and after a brief opening up by our Sensei, the first hour was spent warming up with a free prep lesson from the group's three other instructors and Chris himself. Although we have grown significantly, the "family" feel of the dojo is as strong as ever and this was very much evident as the newer juniors looked to their sempai for help and support as the clock ticked by the minutes before what was for many, their first ever grading.
There followed a very impressive display by all those who challenged their first grade. After new red stripe belts were handed out to relieved students and proud parents. Chris remarked on the overall standard, which he thought was good and reflected the hard work of students and instructors alike.
It was then time for those challenging 9th Kyu. This mix of juniors and seniors had sat with the rest of the quiet and respectful audience as the earlier group was put though its paces, giving the added build of tension and suspense. Grading isn't just about a technical performance, it's also about spirit, heart, courage and resolve and with such a good performance to follow, this next group certainly showed all of that in abundance to overcome nervousness and in-trepidation. They again put on an impressive display and Chris was able to congratulate them all as they collected their new belts.
The final groups of juniors and seniors were those challenging 8th Kyu, 6th Kyu and 3rd Kyu. By this time some of the earlier youngsters and their parents had left, leaving a smaller but just as attentive audience. The grading for these was naturally more demanding and the energy and focus was palpable in the room. The days finale featured John Smallman, who put on a strong and focused display of resilience and determined spirit, as he successfully challenged his brown belt to now move over into the more advanced stages of training in preparation for black belt. I trust I can speak on behalf of all dojo members and supporters in offering him warm congratulations.
Below, are the names of all those who successfully graded this time. It is difficult to pick out individual performances when the standard has been so good and we congratulate each and every member who were prepared to put themselves through a grading and shine through. But no matter how difficult, there were some performances that did shine particularly bright. There are degrees of "pass" within our grade examinations up to purple belt to help individuals understand where they are on their karate journey and where to focus on improvement and further learning. A first class pass is reserved for those who achieve an exceptionally high standard and Chris was very happy to award two of these on the day - to Paul Stewart and Elaine Ashford, who gave a performance that we should all be inspired from. Congratulations to them both and a big thanks to everyone who put in such hard work to grade this time.
Grading Results (Dec 2012)
To Provisional 9th Kyu (Red Stripe):
To 9th Kyu (Red Belt):
Elaine Ashford - FIRST CLASS PASS
To Provisional 8th Kyu (Yellow Stripe):
To 8th Kyu (Yellow Belt):
Paul Stewart - FIRST CLASS PASS
To 7th Kyu (Orange Belt):
To 6th Kyu (Green Belt):
To 3rd Kyu (Brown Belt):