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The evening commenced with a poignant one-minute silence for the Tsunami victims in Japan and in honour of Sensei Danny.
Sensei Ron Bellwood conducted the warm-up before he was surprised by a special presentation by Sensei Kato–the gift of a special black belt donated by the club seniors and Sensei Kato. This was in recognition of his position as President of the Shihankai 7th Dan. All of the club is very proud to be led by such a high-ranking, and yet modest karateka who sets a great example to all students in the IJKA.
Also in attendance was Peter Custance 6th Dan a member of the IJKA technical committee, Sensei Mark Watts 4th Dan the IJKA Yudanshakai President, and Sensei John Fallows who all made a valuable contribution to the success of the evening.
It was a grading night for all of the junior grades, and for the first session Sensei Kato paired each one of them with a senior. The training routines involved basic attacks and counter-attacks designed to improve distance and timing, go-no-sen and sen-no-sen, co-ordination and spirit. Although the techiques were basic, good execution was not at all easy to perfect, and as always we are given some training ideas to work with.
You always have the feeling that Sensei Kato's approach is one of continuous assessment and the grading at the end of the evening is just the final instalment of the examination. Therefore, no one needed any encouragement to put absolutely everything into their training all evening.
The second session had the class split into two. The juniors running through their grading syllabus with Sensei Kato and then the grading examination. As mentioned in a previous post, the club has a good number of adult and children beginners who train hard regularly, and this hard work paid off as all of them passed their grades. They performed Heian Shodan and the Kumite with a decent standard of technique combined with good fighting spirit.
The seniors were instructed on the finer points of Kanku Sho by Sensei Peter. He has a great eye for detail and not only did we go over each move until it was correct, we paired up at regular intervals to practice the bunki.