The head coach of the Haverhill Wado Freestyle Karate Club (HWFK) has hailed the 100 per cent success rate of his students in their latest grading.
Greg Malyon was delighted with the 15 students who took part in the club’s most recent karate grading — which included four new black belt members.
The exam, recognised by the ICO (International Combat Organisation), deems whether a pupil is ready to progress to the next level and earn a new belt.
There are different requirements at each level, although it is common for the pupil to be asked to complete a practiced set of moves, the Kata.
The specified series of moves involves stepping and turning while attempting to maintain perfect form.
It is not intended as a literal depiction of a mock fight, but as a display of transition and flow from one posture and movement to another.
This teaches the student proper form and position, and encourages them to visualise different scenarios for the use of each motion and technique.
The exam to achieve a 1st Dan black belt — the first of 10 possible ranks within the belt — took more than five hours of gruelling assessment of their technical abilities.
Alongside the Kata, they also had to break a 1.5 inch piece of wood as well as an hour and a half of varying self-defence attacks that included batons, knives, two person attacks and, finally, 12 rounds of full contact sparring.
Malyon said the club only put their students forward once they were confident of their ability to pass, but still felt ‘a lot of pride’ with each success.
He said: “We make a big thing of the black belt grading in particular, as it’s the culmination of many years of hard work.
“We push our black belts and have a very high standard we ask them to obtain before we put them forward, and that means our pass rate is very high.
“But it also makes it very special when they get it. We feel a lot of pride with all of our students successes. A black belt is both the pinnacle of the sport and just the beginning.”
It is just the latest successful grading for the club, which now has nine black belt level fighters among their ranks.
Malyon added: “One of the hardest things for a club is to keep students interested once they reach their black belt.
“There is a tendency for people to move on, even though it is really just the beginning of your ability. It is a cadet black belt, and there is still a lot to learn.”
He said he hopes to see another five or six of his students attempt black belt gradings in 2018.
• The club also held its annual awards evening, where the most improved students were presented with trophies. Three pupils were awarded a trophy, with Lauran crowned the Most Improved under-11 student, Fenella the Most Improved cadet and Jamie the Most Improved adult student.