The Chief Instructor of the Independent Federation of Martial Arts Sensei, George Coates 7th Dan, visited Whitby Shotokan Karate Club to assess and grade two candidates for 1st dan black belt.
Part of the qualification for black belt is the ability to teach.
Nikita Smith, the 16-year-old daughter of Sensei Sallyann Smith, who holds a 2nd dan black belt in the Whitby club, and Sam Locker, who trains twice weekly in the Whitby Club, were invited to take the whole club’s juniors (about 50 members) for warm-up exercises and take the class in lessons including the Heian katas and basic karate drills.
Nikita was then told to work out the applications (Bunkai) of a chosen kata and Sam the same but with a different kata, both performed this magnificently and were praised by Sensei.
Student Eve Hartley-Tull (yellow belt) was praised and thanked for volunteering her services to take part in the Bunkai. Both candidates had to do a series of complicated advanced katas followed rapidly by free fighting with several club members including black belts.
The black belt grading is a difficult and strenuous grading. That is why out of every 1,000 people who take up the art of karate, only one will ever achieve the coveted black belt.
Sensei Coates pointed out to the club this was a superb grading and promoted both Nikita and Sam to black belt.
Senseis Mike Howard 4th Dan and Sensei Jim White 3rd Dan performed the belting ceremony which is a Shotokan tradition. Sensei Howard removed the old coloured belts from the two new Dan Grades and Sensei Jim White 3rd dan replaced them with the new black belts.
Sensei Howard thanked Sensei Coates for giving his time to the club and presented him with a bottle of the best champagne and wished him a long and healthy retirement.
Before leaving the club, Sensei Coates told all Whitby Shotokan Club members they were very fortunate to have the best karate instructors in the country.
The Whitby Shotokan Karate Club practises the original Shotokan karate which was introduced to Japan from the Island of Okinawa By Master Gichin Funakoshi.It remained a secret art until 1922.
The club is registered with the Independent Federation of Martial Arts, All the instructors are qualified Black Belt Senseis and registered with the federation. The club trains twice weekly at Airy Hill School, Monday and Friday, Novices 5.30-6.30pm, intermediate 6.30-7.30pm, and advanced 7.30-9pm. Call Jim White on 01947 820378 or Mike Howard 604861.