AMA Technical Committee Grading 16th October 2004 Bury, Lancashire.
On October 16th the AMA held a Technical Committee Examination for Dan Grades. The Grading Panel was: Kevin Hamilton Stewart, 6th Dan Wado Ryu and AMA Technical Director; Peter Allen, 6th Dan Shukokai and AMA National Karate Team Manager; and Tony Hunter 3rd Dan Shotokan. This diversity reflected the various styles of the candidates, with examinees testing in Shotokan, Shukokai, Wado Ryu and free-style karate.
Candidates came from as far south as Somerset and as far north as Sunderland, and were asked to demonstrate the full range of technical and physical skills, including, Kata (including an understanding and demonstration of bunkai), Kumite and pairs work, Kihon and basic drills, Makiwari waza, and free attack / self defence.
Amongst the successful entrants were a number of veterans of the British karate scene. Les Cutting 48, of Doushikai Shotokan, Sunderland was recently elected to the AMA Executive Committee, and appointed Child Protection Officer. Although he has been training since 1971 (originally in Wado Ryu with Peter Edwards and Derek Carr) he had amazingly never graded beyond Shodan. Not surprisingly Les was a powerful and convincing candidate and successfully gained promotion to Nidan. His Doushikai colleague, Tony Richardson started his martial arts career with Lau Gar in 1982. Now he and Les have almost 200 students under the AMA. Tony too passed to Nidan Shotokan.
Shukokai candidates successfully promoted to Shodan were Lisa Hill of USKA and Katie Hunter of Chowa Karate, Blackburn. This was Katie’s second crack at the coveted black belt and she was delighted to declare that her failure earlier in the year had made her stronger, more determined, and ultimately a better karateka this time round.
Four candidates tested for Wado Ryu Dan Grades. Young Zak Wilkinson passed Junior Shodan, and Brian Wells is now the proud holder of the senior grade of Sandan. Chris Fisher and Joe Johnson bravely drove up from Somerset that same morning. Chris has been training in Wado for 10 years and passed Nidan. His senior at Bridgewater School of Karate, Joe Johnson has been training since 1980. Examiner Kevin Hamilton-Stewart remarked on Joe’s “very Japanese” style when he congratulated him on passing to Godan (5th dan). This was a deserved promotion for a strong, stylish and crisp karateka. Undoubtedly the 4 hour plus drive home immediately after the test was made somewhat easier by their shared success.
Congratulations to all these. Hope for the unsuccessful candidates can be gained from Katie Hunter’s example.