The ESKA October Dan Grading took place on Saturday 28th October, slightly earlier than the usual November slot. It was held 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 Grading! 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)

  • Antonio Pintilie – Cambridge
  • Ryan Nijjar – Westminster Lodge
  • Evelyn Llewellyn – Codicote
  • Elena Clarkson – Codicote
  • Dominic Sewell – Westminster Lodge
  • Thomas Sparrow – Ickleford

Adult Dan Grading

Intermediate Black Belt

  • Phillip Sewell – Westminster Lodge

Shodan (Black Belt – 1st Dan)

  • Luke Mewitt – Hertford
  • Gregory Wood – Hitchin

Nidan (Black Belt – 2nd Dan)

  • Johannes Barnard – St. Albans
  • Tom Whalley – Hitchin
  • Jenson Basa – Stevenage

Sandan (Black Belt – 3rd Dan)

  • Neil Fisher – St. Albans
  • Matt Sanderman – Hitchin

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
  • Sensei John Gillespie
  • Sensei Tony Stones
  • Sensei Ian Walters


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