The ESKA May Dan Grading took place on Saturday 13th May at the Little Staughton Dojo in Bedfordshire.

Read more to find out how they all got on.

Congratulations to all those students who passed their Dan Gradings at Little Staughton in Bedfordshire. A tough hours long assessment leading to a fantastic result for all those students who have trained for many years, proving that, with dedication and determination, you can achieve your goals. Well done everyone.

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)

  • Katie Shepherd – Cambridge
  • Nichiforos Petcov – Hatfield

Adult Dan Grading

Intermediate Black Belt

  • Luke Mewitt – Hertford
  • Rooshil Hibbert – St. Albans
  • Greg Wood – Hitchin

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Stuart Shepherd – Cambridge
  • Darragh Tilbury – Biggleswade

Nidan (Black Belt – 2nd Dan)

  • Tony Sambridge – Stevenage
  • Taiga Soejima – Westminster Lodge
  • Daiki Soejima – Westminster Lodge
  • Emma Haigh – Knebworth

Sandan (Black Belt – 3rd Dan)

  • None

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 Paul Grimsey
  • Sensei Owen Ramsden (Although not there on the day, for arranging all the terminology tests and paper work)
  • Sensei John Gillespie
  • Sensei Tony Stones


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