On Sunday 6th December we held our Winter 2020 Dan grading. This was our first Dan grading since 2019 due to COVID and the May grading being cancelled. The grading was also held in the Knebworth club dojo hall.

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

The day itself kicked off at 10am with the juniors first up. After the juniors it was time for the adults attempting Intermediate Black Belt, Shodan and Nidan. There were no attempts at Sandan this time.

ALL the students worked very hard and it was great to see the positive results. Those who didn’t quite make it this time, keep working hard and we hope to see you back in May 2020!

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 (3rd Dan Black Belt – 3 Gold Bars)

Junior Dan Grading

Congratulations to all the Junior’s who passed their Shodan. There were a large amount grading with 7 in total. Well done everyone who passed. If you didn’t quite make it this time, work hard on what you’ve been told and we’ll see you back in May

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Matthew Gardner – St. Albans
  • Ben Ison – Hatfield
  • Emma Haigh – Knebworth
  • Daiki Soejima – Westminster Lodge
  • Taiga Soejima – Westminster Lodge

Adult Dan Grading

Congratulations to the following Adults who passed their intermediate Dan, black belt grading’s and Nidan grading’s. A great deal of effort was put in by all.

Intermediate Black Belt

  • Cameron  – St. Albans

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Maddie Webb – Stevenage
  • Mark Ladyman – Stopsley

Nidan (Black Belt – 2nd Dan)

  • Ben Rousell – Knebworth
  • Sandy Sahota – St. Albans
  • Mick Dennis – Stevenage

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’s Gavin Paul, John Gillespie, Owen Ramsden, Paul Grimsey and Tony Stones. All 6th Dans and above.


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