On Saturday 11th of November Sensei Steve and Sempai Tony took part in their respective Dan grading’s.

The grading was held in Little Staughton nr. Bedford behind closed doors, as all Dan grading’s are. Read on for the results.

What is a Dan Grading?

A Dan grading is the name given to the exam used to asses a students ability to progress to a certain Dan grade. A Dan grade is essentially a level of Black belt. Many non-Karateka believe a black belt to be the pinnacle of Martial Arts study, however this isn’t the case and is really where the learning starts. The system was first applied to martial arts in Japan by Kanō Jigorō (1860–1938), the founder of judo, in 1883, and later introduced to other East Asian countries.

A Dan grade is symbolised usually by a gold bar sewn onto a black belt. For example, if you were a 2nd Dan you would have 2 gold bars showing on your black belt. In ESKA (English Shotokan Karate Association) Dan grading’s are used to attempt the following grades:

  • Intermediate Black Belt (No gold bar – Brown Belt with a Black Stripe)
  • Black Belt [Shodan] (After 6 months of training the student is awarded their Shodan – 1st Dan)
  • Nidan (2nd Dan Black Belt – 2 Gold Bars)
  • Sandan (2rd Dan Black Belt – 3 Gold Bars)

Sempai Tony

Sempai Tony last graded nearly 12 years ago for his intermediate black belt with ESKA (English Shotokan Karate Association). Since returning to Karate in May 2017 he has worked incredibly hard towards taking this grading.

Tony’s grading began at 12pm following the Junior black belt grading results and lasted around 3 hours. Tony received some good feedback from the examining panel (7 Senior ESKA Dan Grades) and successfully passed his Shodan (1st Dan) Black belt.

Dan grading’s are exceptionally difficult and require an immense amount of focus and effort. Congratulations to Tony on passing his black belt, a real moment to be proud of.

Sensei Steve

Sensei Steve last graded 9 years ago when he trained with the Baldock dojo and they were still part of ESKA. Since starting the Ickleford club 4 years ago, it has been his desire to attempt his 3rd Dan grading. When returning to ESKA in May this year, Sensei Steve decided now was the time to work towards this grade.

Your 3rd Dan black belt is very different to other Dan grading’s, which tend to be more physical assessments. Your Sandan is more about the theory of Karate and its various techniques – essentially assessing your teaching ability. Your 3rd Dan is also the last grading you have to do, all subsequent others are awarded on time served.

After a 2 hour grading, Sensei Steve passed his 3rd Dan along with Sensei Helen Higgins from Hitchin. Congratulations Sensei Steve!

Other Pictures