As part of Sensei Liam O’Reilly's 5th Dan grading, he was asked to organise a CFTS course - which is no small undertaking.
After warms-ups, we started some basic techinques to further get the blood flowing; these consisted of multiple ren-zuki punching combinations and a montage of basic blocks.
Next we started a series of combinations in four different directions, turning from one direction to another performing the same series of techniques. Purple-and-white belts and below did a more basic set of moves with the same turns, brown belts and above received a more complex routine – sometimes adding to purple-and-white belts' moves.
There were five different combinations which ranged in difficulty and number of techniques; there was plenty to keep the mind busy. Most seasoned karate-ka held a dread feeling that you knew you were going to get asked to perform all the combinations from memory later on at high speed... which we did. We started a short break but Sensei Kidby surprised Sensei O’Reilly with two kata to perform in front of everybody as part of his grading. Selected from a possible 30 Shotokan Kata, Sensei O’Reilly was instructed to perform two advanced kata - Niju Shiho and Seienchin.
After the break we paired up to test the earlier combinations on another person. Senior grades were able to add extra techniques such as throws/takedowns to complement the techniques At the end of the course Sensei Kidby surprised Sensei O’Reilly again by getting five senior dan grades to freestyle continuously one after another against him. It was hard going to perform so many bouts of freestyle but Sensei O’Reilly soldiered through.
Whilst Sensei O’Reilly recovered from his freestyle, Sensei Kidby closed the course and thanked Sensei O’Reilly for a taxing yet enjoyable course. He then surprised Sensei O’Reilly by awarding him with 5th Dan - the 1st person to be awarded 5th Dan in CFTS after Sensei Kidby!
Everyone seemed to enjoy the course and it was the first time that a Dan grading had been exposed to other lower grade students in CFTS. I am sure it gave all of us something to think about for our future karate training...
Congratulations Sensei O’Reilly!