Whitby Shotokan Karate Club

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ROBIN Hood’s Bay Scout Group invited members of the Whitby Shotokan Karate Club to give an insight into karate as part of a martial arts session for the Bay cub pack.

Ian Henderson (1st Kyu), brown and white belt, led warm up exercises and instructed the cubs in four basic blocks and gave a brief outline of the origins of karate and its development up to the present day.

Sensei Chris Watmough (2nd Dan), black belt, gave a talk on how karate can benefit the individual by promoting a healthy body, awareness, respect and self discipline and emphasised that the physical aspects of karate are secondary to the main aims of developing spirit, confidence and self esteem.

Sensei Dan Howard (1st Dan), black belt, gave a short talk on how he started studying karate at the age of seven and explained the steps to attaining his black belt at the age of 15 in October of last year. The black belt grading lasts three hours and involves karate theory, executing set combinations of blocks, punches, kicks and strikes, demonstrating 15 kata or forms and sparring with other students of varying grades, to show control and respect.

Sensei Howard then acted as grading sensei to mark a grading exam of two cub members, Mae Knight and Billy Fewster, who both practice shotokan karate. Mae and Billy executed blocks, punches and kicks from the shotokan syllabus and finished with a very strong performance of the first kata known as kihon. This is the first kata, of which there are 27 to learn in the syllabus and take many years to master.

Sensei Howard highlighted the strong spirit which was evident in the grading.

The martial art of judo was represented by Sandy Williams who is a judoka or judo student who has attained yellow belt standing in the art.

The main difference between karate and judo being that judo is an art where grappling and throwing are the main forms of defence.

Sensei Howard then gave an exhibition of five black belt kata, with the stances and meaning of each kata explained by Sensei Watmouth.

The kata are set moves and tell the story of a fight with imaginary opponents, defending attacks from different directions using blocks, punches and kicks.

In total Sensei Howard completed around 180 moves, demonstrating power, focus and spirit.

Sensei Watmough brought the session to a close by explaining more about the true meaning of karate and telling pack members that what makes a good student is, respect, discipline, but most of all the enjoyment of karate.

He thanked the cub pack for their participation and interest in the evening and said that they were a credit to themselves, their families and their cub leaders.

The evening was rounded off with the presentation of badges to Mae and Billy.

Whitby Shotokan Karate Club trains at Airy Hill School on Mondays and Thursdays. Juniors 5.30-6.30pm, intermediates 6.30-7.30pm, seniors 7.30-9pm.

The club’s instructors welcome the opportunity to introduce shotokan karate to any local organisations, highlighting the role that karate training can play in everyday life affecting issues such as bullying, low self exteem and an awareness of everyday living.

The club can be contacted through the following members: Sensie Mike Howard 604861, Sensei Jim White 820378 or Sensei Chris Watmough 821579.