Once a year, the CFTS Executive holds a morning's training session on a subject that is considered vital to the progress and continuing education of the Dan grades. The subject matter today was Safeguarding. Safeguarding is the name that encompasses the syllabus for what was known until recently as Child Protection. Attendance is mandatory for Shodan grades wishing to further their training and knowledge and is particularly relevant when their goal is to gain their Instructors' qualification and, later on, their Nidan grade. It also serves as an excellent refresher for the senior Dan grades.
The Safeguarding qualification is valid for four years. Child Protection was born in the form of a Children's Charter in 1889; the first ever act of Parliament. It was designed to give British Law the powers to intervene in relations between parents and children. Throughout the last hundred or so years, despite the system undergoing major overhauls, tragedies still occur.
The Children Act 1989 gave every child the right to protection from abuse and exploitation and the right to have inquiries made to safeguard their welfare. Its central tenet was that children are usually best looked after within their family. The act came into force in England and Wales in 1991 and - with some differences - in Northern Ireland in 1996. In more recent memory, the death of Victoria Climbié in 2003 found a litany of failings by the health profession, police and social services that could, if spotted quickly enough, have possibly saved her life.
Karate is an activity that is quite literally on the very edge of what some people might term as child abuse; the shouting, striking each other, grabbing hold and taking to the floor etc. It is for this reason that CFTS holds courses on a yearly basis on subjects such as Safeguarding; we as Dan grades have a duty of care to the students in our dojo and we hold enormous responsibilities in that the health and well-being of our students is our remit. CFTS are, to the best of available knowledge, the only non-political martial arts association who regularly hold mandatory training sessions for the continued success and devotion to their students.
After a much needed lunch break, the Dan grades sat down for the AGM (annual general meeting) to meet and discuss various elements that, as a whole, determine the direction that CFTS should follow for the foreseeable future. Items on the agenda often include deciding on the content and instructors for following year's courses, and a recap of the current year. The AGM is chaired by Sensei McClagish, our CFTS Chairman, and minutes were taken by Sensei Saunders. Sensei Saunders was unanimously voted to accede to the position of CFTS Secretary after the resignation of Sensei O'Reilly who has, due to employment commitments, had to move away from the area. The meeting was officially closed by Sensei McClagish at 1400hrs.
The afternoon of 13 October was met with a mix of trepidation and excitement by both candidates and instructors alike!
Four people lined up for the hardest gradings of their karate careers so far, relying on the months of hard training to get them over their nerves in an effort to give 100%.
After several arduous hours of grading, the Executive were pleased and proud, to award the following:
Sarah Ward – Shodan
Alison Ward – Shodan
Kyle Harris – Nidan
Andy Gillies – Sandan
Congratulations to you all!