Winter Party / Presentation night 2017

Another year ends and the annual Christmas parties become ever more popular and better every time. 

 

This year was definitely our most successful winter presentation party night with over 200 people in attendance. The funds raised almost £800 which far exceeds anything we have done in the past and this is due to a number of factors. I have put a lot of hours into the club this year and rarely have a day off anymore and it has sort of paid off as my enthusiasm encourages the younger students also so we have busier classes. Secondly we have attracted some fabulous new parents who seem willing to support their kids and the club. Thirdly and most importantly Ali ran a tight ship organising the raffles / tombolas and the buffet. It is very much a combined effort and some of my older girls were there to lend a hand throughout the evening. Many thanks to the lovely girls who sold raffle tickets and the play your cards right tickets etc Eleisha Mitchinson / Alex Steadman / Isabella Shields / Katie Snowdon and of course the ever helpful Lola, Eve and Emma Snaith who came to set up on the afternoon. And of course the two Steves with their fantastic sound and light system which they bring and run for next to nothing just to help the club out, these guys have no real connection to the club except they can see what I try to do for the kids and they are a pair of good samaritans. 

Basically the party was a great success, the kids had a top time and that is what it is all about for me.

Please read on only if you are interested in how I decide who gets what award. Otherwise look at the photos only.

 

 

 

TODAYS AWARDS.

GRADING CERTIFICATES AND TROPHIES. On Wednesday I started watching the recording of the grading at 9.10am and finished at 2.45pm. I watched it intently to decide who deserved the supreme excellence certificates and the trophies for each group. Last grading I awarded 30 plus supreme excellence, giving so many detracts from there value. I have been much sterner in my decisions. The standard of the club has rose, so the standard required for supreme excellence must rise with it.  I cannot imagine many senseis going to these extremes to get it right.

OTHER AWARDS.

I have pondered for weeks about who gets what and just like the supreme excellence I have been giving to many awards out. I have scrapped the sensei choice for the winter and will do this only in the summer when there is no student of the year. I will no longer ask for trophies returning and students will keep what they get except the fighting spirit. Obviously the new summer trophies will not be as big.

Giving these trophies has turned from a joyful experience to a miserable couple of weeks of indecision by me. Everybody thinks their child should win something and with a club full of fantastic dedicated kids it is hard not to feel bad leaving people out but the same as with the supreme excellence certificates, the more you give the less they mean. I have had to put any personal preferences for students aside and give the awards to those most deserving. I have a clear conscience I have made the right choices, but it does not make me feel any happier.

I will email everyone my verbal for tonight and you can read why I chose who I did. For everything presented.

 

CRITERIA FOR ELITE SQUAD STATUS.

About ten year back I set up an elite squad for my club. This was made up of the best 10 kids I had available to me. All were ambitious big attenders and I not only wanted to pay towards their competition fees but to make them feel special and to create another goal to spur other kids forward.

Over the years I made many mistakes regarding the elite squad. One of those was to put people on to easily. For example, I once put two massively talented green belts on one year. Within a year I knew I had made a drastic mistake. Since then I have been more cautious, but I have still made mistakes (who doesn’t?)  Another mistake was to award the status to a once keen skilful student who I could see was losing interest. I was trying to give her a boost, but it felt wrong in my heart to award it and I should have listened to my gut instinct as she left 6 month later. I WILL NEVER AWARD A TROPHY OR STATUS AGAIN TO A STUDENT I THINK IS LOSING INTEREST.

SO HOW DO YOU GET ON THE ELITE SQUAD????????????????

DOKAN IS A TOP CLUB, PERHAPS THE TOP CLUB you do not get on our Elite squad easily.

  • You need to be regular in your attendance and not the odd one hour a week here and there.
  • You need to be respectful of other students and helpful.
  • Most importantly you need the WOW factor.

This is what the wow factor is. = I ask someone to demonstrate something IE a jump or a sequence from a kata or a fighting combination.

When the students watch the demonstration, there is a respectful silence, or an intake of breath followed by a wow. This is the wow factor. I have a club full of competent kids all good at what they do but only a few can impress everyone including me and the other high-grade students to point they feel like applauding.

I considered 4 students for Elite squad status and chose one only. I imagine through 2018 another one or two may be awarded.

 

 

CRITERIA FOR WINNING AWARDS. PAGE 2

FIGHTING SPIRIT       MY FAVOURITE AWARD,  The one I like awarding the best. I can sit and think for weeks about who deserves this most and relive some of my high lights from the year past.

  • Is simple enough, I watch the students at every competition. Some may do well in one poor in another, but some kids in particular will take it on the chin without flinching and continually drive forward.

MARCUS HENDERSON AND EMMA SNAITH     (and both are vertically challenged) Like two little terrier dogs who fear no one. Everyone in this room must have seen a Jack Russell having a go at a much bigger dog like an Alsatian. Well that’s Marcus and Emma.

 

  • Number 2 criteria is to win everything and look damn cool while doing so. English National champion 2017 Swedish International champion 2017 / Swiss Basel masters international champion 2017 / Central England champion 2017 and so on and so on … ANAIS ERRINGTON

 

  • Some kids have in built aggression and know not how to back down. These kids are few and far between, but we have a born fighter in the room tonight. 7-year-old LAILA HUNNAM who has stood in for under nine year old fighting teams aged 6.

 

 

  • Now and then someone starts who has on discernible skill at fighting. They may be slow, they cannot kick above knee height and they keep getting punched in the face because they cannot block either. Most give up. Not this kid, he just got good, he stills blocks a lot of kicks and punches with his face which is not ideal, but he can now kick high and he has one of the best punches in the entire club and he is now quick JUNIOR BAINES.
  • THE LAST TWO FIGHTING SPIRIT TROPHIES.

EARLY THIS YEAR we booked into the UKC2 a kickboxing style evening event where the fighters emerge down a smoke screened staircase with accompanying loud music onto a floodlit floor with a 1000 spectators watching only one area all night. The pressure to enter a tournament that only the very best from Britain dare enter is enormous. 8 fighters in each group fight their way to the final to win a Lonsdale belt type award. Those that lose get nothing. Dokan had 4 fighters entered. One was injured. One backed out. Leaving two Dokan girls with only a longshot chance of winning.

ELEISHA got beat in the second round by the British Champion and England number 1 fighter by 2 points. Bear in mind this girl beat the Scottish champion 9 nil in round one. And followed up after Eleishas fight to win 7 to 0 in the final. Eleisha done well’

KATIE HUNNAM beat the Cika champ round one then won the English National champ round two before loosing rather unfairly in the final to a Scottish girl.

JUST ENTERING THIS COMP TOOK  A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF COURAGE.

But that is not their only achievements this year on the fighting stage, both girls have won dozens of fights through out the year and Katie has improved beyond belief.

My girls especially are team players. We do great in the fighting teams because I work hard to try to ensure we all support one another and stay friends.

ELEISHA is a team player, she is English National team kumite champion and her fighting team which often changes from comp to comp have won gold at every competition they have entered this year. 7 gold team kumite wins for Eleisha with some shock victories and she rarely loses her fight in team.

 

NOW IF YOU WIN A FIGHTING AWARD 5 TIMES YOU ARE THEN AWARDED A DOKAN GOLDEN SAMURAI

Eleisha was the first and only person to win this until tonight.

Well done Katie Hunnam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOST IMPROVED

Speaks for itself who has developed the most?

Well this is hard in a club full of winners, we have 12 senior squad members / 24 peewee squad members / 19 mid age squad members. Which means we have at least 50 ambitious driven children in our club. And I know there are 15 more who do not attend squad that are focused and strive to succeed.

So what can I do? I kept creating more awards, but this had to stop as the more you give the less they mean. This year Dokan have rose above all other clubs. Our kids are training hard and excelling and I can only give awards as I see fit.

At one time a child regularly doing 3 or 4 hours a week was cause for admiration. I have 50 kids or more doing this now. Yet you still cannot ignore students who come in and train 12 hours every week without fail.

SO THE MOST IMPROVED ARE EXACTLY WHAT IT STATES. The ones that have improved most this year. It does not mean they are the best, it means they have improved the most.

JACK CHATTERJE  /    ISOBEL PYE   /   MYA ROGERS   /    LEWIS POUNDER  /    JACK ROBINSON   / ANJALEE DHALIWALL

Jack comes up from Middlesborough and trains at Dokan 4 hours each week. Aged 7 he has transformed himself from what he was just a year ago.

Isobel Pye trains 5 and a half hours a week including squad and has had an all-round improvement.

Mya Rogers started in one of the best groups I have ever taught. She is constantly surprising me and has gone from low down in that group to the very top. Trains 5 hours plus squad sessions

LEWIS is a little older also a new fifth kyu naturally talented and constantly pushing his own boundaries.

ANJALEE came a visiting a year ago from Hartlepool and has trained twice weekly with us ever since. Aged 14 she came for fighting practice as we teach a different style but once she saw the Dokan girls doing kata she knew what she wanted. Anjalees development is staggering. Watch her this year and you will see how special she is becoming.

Jack came from a rather poor local club with a black belt, a shoddy knowledge of karate and no fighting knowledge at all. For almost two year he had to endure losing every fight every night he trained. The level of humiliation required for a young 12-year-old lad to do this in a club full of skilled girls is huge. Jack deserves everyone’s admiration. He has mine

BEST NEWCOMER

ARCHIE MAGUIRE    = aged 6 kumite fighting boy of enormous potential trains 6 hours a week and a peewee squad member

LAUREN MAPSTONE =  aged 7 kumite and kata. A natural karateka. (trains 5 hours a week)

DANIEL HEWITT = aged 7 south paw kumite great eye for a punch, tough and improving rapidly. (trains 4 hours a week plus peewee squad)

MADDIE HARRISON aged 7 all round natural ability trains 6 hours a week with peewee squad too

ISABELLE METCALF age 7   kumite fighting girl, on an upward rise, tough and feisty.  4 to 5 hours a week & squad

EMILY SPROAT  Age 10 all round ability but kumite quality shines through trains 4 hours a week

LIBBY HESLOP  Age 8 kata potential enormous. Trains 2 hours a week at the moment just joined peewee squad.

 

STUDENT OF THE YEAR

WHITBURN = EMMA ALI HUTCHINSON trains up to 9 hours a week sometimes more a gritty little character good at kata and fighting and very dedicated.

BUNNYHILL = EVE PALMER trains 13 hours a week. No lame excuses misses about 3 lessons a year. Eve could also have won a most improved but we have to learn to share.

BOLDON = KATIE HUNNAM trains up to 8 hours a week occasionally more. Loud fun and enthusiastic.

FULWELL = FRAN SAWKILL trains four hours a week plus squad sessions, kata girl with a fabulous attitude.

CLEADON = OLIVIA FELLOWS helpful quiet and lovely trains 8 hours a week plus squad.

REDHOUSE = EMMA SNAITH reliable trains 6 to 8 hours a week depending on squad sessions. All round ability huge improvements this year.

SATURDAY = JAMES HILES. I only have 5 regular students James IS REGULAR and he is getting good at kumite. Will be invited to pee wee squad sessions 2018.

SUPREME STUDENT OF THE YEAR

LOLA CASSIDY.

Even though we are all adults very few of us will have had a long-term injury. Which is exactly what happened to Lola in early July. She tore the tendon from the top of her leg away from the bone and could barely walk without limping. You get an injury at 36 like this and you are sick of your life but we are adults and can handle things better. Aged 13 when you have been the fittest most flexible person in the club for 7 year it is a crushing blow. Four month later Lola could still not kick at all off one leg and only below knee height off the other. This from a girl who could do the splits on an aerial kick.

So you would imagine Lola would take some time out. She could not train so why attend the club?

The answer is simple       Lola is Dokan she is a special part of our club, there is no one like her. She came in five days a week keeping time and hobbling about listening and watching just to keep abreast of any changes.

 I myself have been long term injured before and the frustration and depressing reality of being unable to train is almost unbearable. I would watch Lola in the sessions and sometimes her frustration was there for me to see with watery eyes as she fought back tears of despair. Yet she never dropped a lesson. That is why Lola Cassidy is Supreme student of all time never mind just 2017.

Lola is now starting to recover after 6 month. I hope it never recurs and we can plan her karate future once again.

GRADING TROPHIES   the best standard of grading I have ever seen.

WHITE BELT

GABRIELLA PICK

RED BELT

IMOGEN ARNOTT

RED AD WHITE

EMILY BARBER

8TH AND 7TH KYU YELLOW

SCARLETT LAMB

SIXTH KYU GREEN BELT

LEWIS POUNDER

PURPLES

ISABELLA SHIELDS

BROWN  & BLACK

ANAIS ERRINGTON

SUPREME BEST GRADING

EMMA SNAITH

The green belt section is choka block with fantastic kids who have fabulous attitudes and outstanding skills. It is just a shame I have to single one out for the trophy.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALEX STEADMAN AND RON ANGUS AND STEVE FORSTER I have trained at multiple clubs and most had a small army of adult helpers in the lessons. I have had very few over the years but These three give up their time every week to lend a hand, also Katie Hunnam, Ruby Robertson and Milly Pomfret who also lend a hand once a week.

 

SCHOOL STAR CHART WINNERS

EAST BOLDON

ST BENETS

SEABURN DENE

WHITBURN

SOPHIE WOOD dancer

FRAN SAWKILL

EMILY SPROAT

Marcus Henderson

GABRIELLA PICK

SOMMER ROBINSON

Nicolas Metcalf

Amelie Robertson

ROSE RENNIE

ARCHIE MAGUIRE

Gabrielle Cambrook

Molly Melia

IMOGEN ARNOTT

HEIDI ROBINSON

Lauren Mapstone

Rose Bruce

SAFFRON STORES

SCARLETT GLENDENNIN

 

Francesca Johnson

AMBER WALKER

Hannah Bransby

 

Gracie May Bell