WHITBY Shotokan Karate Club received a surprise visit from the Chief Instructor of the Independent Federation of Martial Arts, Sensei George Coates.
A big fan of Whitby, Sensei George Coates 6th Dan came to assess Ian Henderson 1st Kyu for his Dan Grade (black belt).
Part of the qualification for black belt is the ability to teach and Ian was given the whole class and told to take them through all levels of training from novice upwards.
He conducted warm-up exercises followed by some Kata training ranging from basic to more difficult in the Heian format.
He then went on to teach and demonstrate Bunki, this is the combat applications of the katas
The black belt grading is a very difficult and strenuous grading that is why out of every 2,000 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 an assessment grading and promoted Ian to an honorary black belt.
Club instructors Sensei Mike Howard, Sensei Jim White, Sensei Chris Watmouth and all the club members joined in to congratulate Ian on his achievement.
Sensei Coates then called Sensei White 2nd Dan to the floor and told the assembled members that he has given more than 40 years of dedication to the art of karate and many years service to the club.
He stated that he has been assessing Sensei White over a period of time for promotion to 3rd Dan, but due to a recent illness, Sensei White had decided he did not wish to do Kumite (Free Fighting) and that he can no longer take part in strenuous training.
Sensei Coates said he did not know of any karate member anywhere in the country who did not deserve promotion to 3rd Dan more than Sensei White did.
Sensei Howard, Sensei Watmouth and the entire club applauded and congratulated Sensei White on this exceptionally high achievement.
It is the tradition of Shotokan karate that when a member is raised to a higher grade his old belt is removed by the last promoted black belt. Sensei Dwane Dryden removed Sensei Henderson’s brown belt and Sensei Howard 4th replaced it with a black belt black belt (kuro obi)
Sensei Henderson, now being the most recent promoted black belt, had the honour of removing Sensei White’s 2nd Dan black belt and Sensei Coates 6th Dan replaced it with a 3rd Dan Black belt .
Sensei Howard thanked Sensei Coates for giving his time to the club and presented him with a large box of chocolates for his lady and a bottle of wine to Sensei.
Before leaving the club Sensei Coates told the assembled members they were very fortunate to have the best karate instructors in the country.
Whitby Shotokan Karate Club trains twice weekly at Airy Hill School, Monday and Thursday, novices 5.30pm to 6.30pm, intermediate 6.30pm to 7.30pm and advanced 7.30pm to 9pm.
Anyone wishing to take up this martial art contact Jim White on 01947 820378, Mike Howard 604861 or Chris Watmouth 821579 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.