What a great day we had on Sunday at our Fulham Dojo. It started at 10.00 when Nidan candidates Peter Grant and Shinya Nishitani prepared to take their promotion without their colleague, Daphne Yao who had suffered a severe injury to her knee. Daphne had come along with all our Seido black belts to support them. She had reconciled herself to having to wait until next year to complete her grading. Jun Shihan Roger, however, clearly had other ideas. He decided that it was our job to ensure that Daphne participated safely in her circumstances and participate she did. She completed her kata with her limited mobility both standing and lying on the floor. Every time a new demand was thrown at the candidates Daphne completed her own in a different way. Even when it came to fighting Jun Shihan Roger had her sit in a chair and spar from there. It was emotional morning when all three candidates passed their exam and finished as one team. The standards were high. Nothing is as it seems.
The doors to the dojo then re-opened at 12.45 p.m and the supporters flooded in for the promotion to see Johanne Serafin, Steve Norris, Torsten Burkhardt, Bridget Lavin, Ben Gleitzman, from our Chiswick dojo and Jack Nash and Mathew Thomas from our Tylers Green dojo tackle the last part of their four week exams. Tensions were high but the candidates soon settled down to a barrage of demands as Kyoshi Stuart Wilson took them through their paces.
Demonstrating basic and advanced technique, kihon kumite, kata, yakusoku kumite, fitness and fighting skills the afternoon passed in a blur. Soon it was time for them to complete their 40 fights, always the biggest mental challenge of the promotion. The last 10 fights had all the supporters and students standing on their feet to shout encouragement as the students battled and forced tired limbs into just one more kick but force them they did. The last 2 minute round was a time when they could select their final opponent and for Steve,Torsten & Johanne they chose their own sons to work with which was a wonderful experience. When the final 30 second countdown finished the dojo exploded with congratulations but it still wasn’t over.
Jun Shihan Roger asked them all to speak about the experience they had undergone and all candidates expressed profound appreciation to their families and instructors for their help and support on the journey. After tying their new black belts on, Jun Shihan Roger reminded them that they were now entering a new phases of learning and that they should continue to show good example to others and strongly support their own dojos giving back as much as they could. He congratulated the instructors on sound preparation and Jun Shihan Brandt and all the Kyoshi spoke warmly about how they had seen the candidates mature and meet the demands of the promotion with dedication and commitment.
Once again it was a great day in our Seido calendar. Our thanks to all of you who supported both the Nidan and Shodan candidates on the day.