Students up to the grade

Danby Shotokan Karate Club members at their grading
Danby Shotokan Karate Club members at their grading

Danby Shotokan Karate Club held a grading in their training hall (Dojo) Danby Village hall.

Three senior black belt instructors from Whitby Shotokan Karate Club – Sensei Mike Howard 4th Dan, Sensei Jim White 3rd Dan and Sensei Chris Watmouth 3rd Dan – were invited by Sensei Sallyann Smith 2nd Dan, who runs the Danby club, to form a grading panel.

The session started with warm up exercises conducted by Nikita Smith 2nd Kyu followed by a few tips and pointers from Sensei Watmouth.

Sensei Howard began the grading while Sensei White called the students in groups onto the Dojo floor, starting with the lowest grades and working up.

There were four novice students – Colin Bulcur, Danny Elliott, Poppy Elliott and Josie Nep – who had to qualify for their first yellow tag.

This is always a daunting experience, especially for the young, as this is the first time the students have to show off their skills to a panel of senior black belt instructors.

Each had to perform (Tsuki Waza) punching techniques with the first basic karate punch (OI-zuki) stepping punch.

They then had to demonstrate the four basic Shotokan karate blocks which they all did with their newly-found skills to the satisfaction of the examining team and passed with flying colours.

Next in line was Florence Day and Kacey Smith, who both had to perform the same basic punches and blocks but also had to demonstrate their kicking ability, performing a set of front and side kicks,

Florence gained her 2nd Tag and Kacey was awarded her first collared belt (orange) and were praised by the panel.

The next seven young hopefuls – Niamh Elliott, Tala Elliott, Anna Featherstone, Aaron Lees, Megan Lees, Alex Peacock and Ben Peacock – were called in two separate groups to perform the basic punches moving forward and also moving backward.

They then had to perform the reverse punch (gyaku zuki) while moving forward and backwards. They then demonstrated basic kicking techniques (MAI-GERI and YOKO –GERI) front and side kicks.

At this level, students have to take part in controlled pre-arranged fighting techniques and facing a partner each student attacked with five front punches to the opponent’s head and chest area while their partners had to show their blocking and counter attack techniques.

In groups of three and four, they had to perform the first basic Kata (Kihon). This has 22 moves and must be memorised by the student.

All seven passed the grade and were award their 2nd yellow tag.

The final group were two of the club’s adults – Steven Hicks, who was going for his first coloured belt (red) and Dave Elliott who was going from yellow to green belt.

Steven had to perform all basic block, kicks and punches forward and reverse demonstrating the more advanced kick of (Mawashi Geri) or round house kick.

He had two katas to perform namely Kihon and Heian Shodan before taking part in five-step sparring techniques against Dave Elliott, Steve was awarded a red belt.

Dave Elliott had to perform all the above blocks and punches but with the added reverse punch, he then had to demonstrate the front, side and round kick off the same leg moving forward followed by three rapid front punches to the head and body levels he had to then perform knife hand strikes and blocking open hand techniques.

Dave had to demonstrate punching and kicking against an opponent in five step and three step sparring. He had to perform the first three (Heian Katas, Shodan, Nidan and Sandan).

Sensei Sallyann congratulated all her students and presented them all with their new grades.

Sensei Howard told the club they were keeping the very high standard that is required by the Independent Federation of Martial Arts and told the students this is the standard which will carry each member on their journey to black belt.

Sensei Sallyann thanked the Whitby grading panel for coming to Danby.

Danby Shotokan karate Club is registered with the Independent Federation of Martial Arts, The instructor Sensei Sallyann Smith is a qualified Black Belt Sensei and holds the rank of 2nd Dan and is registered with the federation. The club trains at Danby Village Hall, Tuesdays 6-7pm.

For further information phone Sallyann (01287) 660328 or email