After being short of people on the panel last year I took no chances and invited ten panellists to help me through the day. Ali had the ever-helpful duo of Netty and Eddie looking after licences and helping the students register as they arrived, and I must say this is the smoothest grading I have ever ran.


I planned it extensively with each section given a specific time slot and took into consideration a little bit of time for short parental displays and a few moments for me to talk to the parents. There is still a lot of stress attached to running a day like this I can never remember how well these displays went down and if I remembered to say what I intended and that I get the proper message across.

The grading standard was exactly what I have come to expect with nervous young beginners and reasonably competent red belts. It was the new white belts this year that gave me a spark of hope in my heart that I am once again going to get some enthusiastic talent into Dokan club. The grades between white and green were as always going through the motions with about 80% effort level. It takes 3 or 4 gradings before students come to realise what is expected from them in order for them to gain a supreme excellence certificate or to win one of the grading trophies. I push and cajole the students at every grading and in the lessons to put in 100% effort into their work and give the grading their maximum effort. IT TAKES A WHILE, for kids to even understand what I mean, in a world where schools run sports days with no winners’ children do not immediately grasp the concept of being the best.

GREEN BELTS going for purple belt, the room came alive in this group which also had 4 current purple belts going for purple and white belt. These were virtually all Dokan squad kids and their mind set has been adjusted to strive to win. This group were excellent, as were the following group which consisted of  those going for brown belt and three existing brown belt. I am really proud of the standard of my fourth kyus and of their attitude. By the time you reach fourth kyu at Dokan karate club we have separated the wheat from the chaff. Gone are lazy students with no personal drive, gone are the kids who only want to grade in order to brag to their friends and what we have left are special children who have learned what it is to be patient and actually earn something as opposed to being given everything for free.

My new brown belts and the three existing brown belts are jewels in the Dokan crown, I am proud of them, their parents should be proud of them and all the other students in the club should be proud to be associated with such a skilful bunch. I only hope they realise how good they are themselves and can take pride in what they are achieving.

Finally, the adults. Karate is no easy sport to master and the later in life you begin the harder it becomes. Regardless of standard I have the upmost respect for every adult that grades. How many 100s of people do I speak to that are going to turn up and start karate but never build up the courage? it is laughable. Well done to the mams and dads who graded, just like my high ranked students there is something that sets you apart from the average Joe.