The ESKA May Dan Grading took place on Saturday 14th May at the Little Staughton Hombu in Bedfordshire.

Read more to find out how they all got on.

There were 9 students grading for Adult Inter-Dan, Junior Shodan, Nidan and Sandan. The day started at 10.00am and finished just before 4pm. All 9 students showed terrific spirit and although exhausting at times, continued to finish with great determination. All 9 students passed the grading, congratulations to them all.

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

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Lily Kusmierek-Pen – Hatfield
  • Daisy Allen – Knebworth

Adult Dan Grading

Intermediate Black Belt

  • Ben Carol – Knebworth

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Jake Fairbrother – St. Albans
  • Jasmine Abrey – Hatfield
  • Craig Paul – Stevenage

Nidan (Black Belt – 2nd Dan)

  • Susan Page – St. Albans
  • Emily Ah-Moye – Knebworth

Sandan (Black Belt – 3rd Dan)

  • Ian Drew – St. Albans

Final Word

Finally, Special thanks go to the ESKA Dan grading panel for all their dedication and on going support:

  • Sensei Mike Nursey
  • Sensei Gavin Paul
  • Sensei Paul Raymond
  • Sensei Owen Ramsden
  • Sensei John Gillespie
  • Sensei Tony Stones
  • Sensei Ian Walters


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