On Saturday 11th November we held our Winter Dan grading at Little Staughton Village Hall.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to share the results below.

Saturday also so happened to be Remembrance Day, an important day for the commonwealth, not just the students attempting their Dan grading’s.

The day itself kicked off at 10am with the Junior Dan grading starting first. Although free of rain the day itself was cold and fresh, so it was important everyone did a thorough warm up. It was a long day finishing around the 5pm mark.

ALL the students worked very hard and the pass rate was one of the best for a long time with the majority passing.


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)

Junior Dan Grading

Congratulations to the following juniors who passed their black belt grading. Tabitha Greenwood 11 years old the youngest at the grading did a great grading on her own, with spirit coming out her ears, she paired up for Kumite with her brother Elliot age 12.

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Adam Snowden – Knebworth
  • Elliot Greenwood – Knebworth
  • Najeeb Mohiuddin – Hitchin
  • Ryan Brennan – Knebworth
  • Tabitha Greenwood – Knebworth

Adult Dan Grading

Congratulations to the following Adults who passed their intermediate Dan and black belt grading’s. A great deal of effort was put in by all. By the end, the hall windows had steamed up and blood, sweat and tears given from all participants.

Intermediate Black Belt

  • Andrew Leedham – Hitchin
  • James Pawley- Cambridge
  • Nick Kozuch – Hitchin
  • Nigel De Silva – Knebworth
  • Tom Whalley – Hitchin

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Mathew Steggles – St. Albans
  • Neil Fisher – St. Albans
  • Tony Bygrave – Ickleford

Nidan (Black Belt – 2nd Dan)

  • None


Adult Sandan Grading

Congratulations to the following Adults who passed their Sandan grading. The last grading you ever do! Starting late they had some time to catch-up, so it was important for all to be on the ball. In ESKA this was our largest amount of students to attempt Sandan in one grading.

Sandan (Black Belt – 3rd Dan)

  • Helen Higgins – Hitchin
  • Jo Potts – Cambridge
  • Michael Dodds – Hatfield
  • Steve Pearce – Stevenage

More Pictures

Final Word

A great grading day with many successes! Remember, if you didn’t get through on the day, don’t give up, come back stronger next time.

Thank you to the grading examiners Sensei Mike Nursey, Gavin Paul, Paul Raymond, Paul Grimsey, John Gillespie, Ian Walters and Tony Stones. All 5th Dans and above.


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