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Bishop’s Stortford-based Shotokan Karate Ryu celebrates achieving 150th black belt pass

Noah Mason became the 150th Shotokan Karate Ryu member to achieve their black belt as the club reached a significant milestone.

The 14-year-old was one of five teenagers to pass with flying colours at the recent dan grading in Stansted.

Blythe Hookham and Henry Mills, both 13, also achieved first dan status alongside Jamie Winstanley, 14, and 15-year-old George Bennett.

The Bishop’s Stortford-based club has now achieved 151 black belt passes in total.

“I am immensely proud of the achievement of the Shotokan Karate Ryu in reaching over 150 black belt passes over the last two decades,” said the English Karate Organisation’s chair Sensei Dave Sharkey, ninth dan.

“This is no small feat and this accomplishment speaks volumes about the quality of instruction and the spirit of the students at the Shotokan Karate Ryu.

From left, George Bennett, Jamie Winstanley, Blythe Hookham, Henry Mills and Noah Mason
From left, George Bennett, Jamie Winstanley, Blythe Hookham, Henry Mills and Noah Mason

“The Shotokan Karate Ryu is one of the strongest clubs in the country and I have no doubt that they will continue to achieve great things in the future.”

The examination put the candidates through their paces in kihon (basic techniques), kata (formal exercises) and kumite (sparring). Their understanding of karate techniques and terminology was also put to the test, challenging them both physically and mentally.

The atmosphere in the dojo was charged with anticipation and intensity as each candidate demonstrated their skills with determination.

“The performance of the dan grade candidates stood out in what was one of the most challenging and demanding dan gradings the hombu has witnessed,” said Sensei Michael Ring, seventh dan.

“The candidates rose to the occasion and far exceeded expectations.”

For more information about the club, see www.skr.org.uk.

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