Updated: Dec 21, 2021
October 5th was the latest event in a long line of events and courses in the usual busy CFTS calendar. It was our very busy 'Black Belt' day.
The day began with most of our black belts attending our Bi-annual First Aid awareness course. It should be comforting to students and parents alike to know that in CFTS every black belt regularly attends one. The course covers all manner of First Aid issues that you would expect to see in a dojo plus others that you may only come across in your everyday life away from karate. Initially managing an emergency is covered, recovery position, checking airways, CPR and getting the right help. All the delegates are repeatedly told on all our courses that of paramount importance are to keep yourself and the patient safe from further harm and to phone for an ambulance should they deem it necessary. If you are able to do this and get the injured party to hospital without delay you have done your bit. The black belt in charge must then complete an accident form detailing all relevant facts including names and addresses of witnesses.
Also on the day the executive and senior instructors assembled to grade six students for Shodan (1st Level Black Belt).
To attempt a black belt grading is the culmination of many years of dedicated training and practice both in and out of the dojo. The grading itself takes about two hours of arduous examination of many aspects of Shotokan karate. It coves complicated basic combinations, many kata, all types of kumite including freestyle, and a question and answer session on the history and philosophy of karate. The grading candidates are asked to leave the room while their marks are totalled to see if they have achieved above the pass mark. Then their performance is discussed by the grading panel and agreement is made on whether a student should pass or not. It used to be almost habit to fail Shodan at the first attempt. This is not the case now partly because students are not allowed to rush in to it and instructors only invite students to grade if they genuinely feel they are ready. To pass at the first attempt is not a right as some in CFTS can testify.
It was a very pleasing day therefore when Renshi, on behalf of the grading panel, awarded black belts to Jamie Ogston, Elsie Parlor, Thomas Marshall, Olivia Marshall, Lexi Comb and Katie Holmes. It was truly a red-letter day for them, one that will remain in their memory for a very long time. Congratulations to all of them. It was a very well deserved achievement.
They were then invited to join all the other black belts for lunch and the annual black belt AGM. Shihan O’Reilly stood in for Shihan McClagish as Chairman for the meeting beginning with the following address.
“As stand-in chairman to today I thought I might take the opportunity to point out a couple of things. Firstly we are very fortunate in CFTS to have an AGM. All karate associations are autocratic and for obvious reasons must be so. A karate group cannot work democratically. As far as I am aware we are unique amongst associations that I know of in holding an AGM. It is a platform to air views and opinions. If necessary they are usually brought up and discussed at length at our technical committee meeting in January. The technical committee is made up of 2nd Dans or above with greater experience in karate and other walks of life such as law, teaching, youth work, child protection, 1st Aid, Data Protection and running a business etc. This is the steering group of CFTS. Having listened to the Tech committee and the AGM the decisions with regards to the running of CFTS are usually made by the Executive committee comprised of Sensei Saunders as secretary, Shihan McClagish as Chairman Renshi Kidby as Chief instructor and myself, currently without portfolio. However the ultimate decision, in agreement of it or not, must always rest with Renshi.”
The meeting went on to review the minutes of last year’s AGM and any matters arising. The agenda went on to review 2019 and addressed issues, events and courses for 2020. CFTS policies and changes were also read out and discussed. (They may be viewed by following this link).
Black belt training and various technical matters, coaching qualifications and DBS/ CRB certification were also on the agenda.
Black belt diplomas were awarded to Steve Cook, Joshua Penniston and Aidar Talibzhanov who had successfully passed their probationary period. Congratulations to them!
Shihan O’Reilly closed the day thanking everyone for their attendance, for their involvement and commitment in all aspects of a very full and busy day. Indeed it was a very busy day for all our black belts but a very worthwhile one in the year of CFTS.