AUGUST 24, 2002
Moving up the ladder
For many students the first truly memorable pinnacle of achievement in their karate training is often their black belt grading which, when successful, will bring with it the rank of Sho Dan (1st Dan) and the title of Sempai (assistant teacher). On August 24th of this year four students from our dojo, Sarah Bailey, Alaine Reimer, Pierre St. Onge, and Gordon Green took the Sho Dan exam, while two of our senior students Sempai Marilyn Norman and Sempai Katharine Kaye graded for the rank of Ni Dan (2nd Dan).
This is but a small part of their journey.


The grading panel
A total of three Senseis and fourteen Sempais made up the grading panel. Seen here are but a few of them, they are from right to left Sensei Dan Holland, Sempai Barry Norman, Sempai Bill Camden, Sempai Christine Dixon, Sempai Donna Gray, Sempai Sue Stephen, Sempai Cathy Quinn and Sempai Vicki Aune. With these and so many other eyes spread throughout the dojo very few mistakes went unnoticed.
Ready to start
After years of dedication their moment has finally arrived. Seen here about to begin their Sho Dan exam are our four 1st kyu students, they are from left to right, Pierre St. Onge, Gordon Green, Sarah Bailey, and Alaine Reimer. These students have been training faithfully three to four days a week for on average the past five years, their hard work and dedication, as well as their individual contributions to the growth of the dojo have earned all of them the right to be here today.
Caught in flight
Much later in the day during the kicking portion of the grading Sarah Bailey seen here on the right is caught by the camera just as she is driven back by a well placed migi mae geri (right front kick) from Alaine Reimer.
Giving his all
Gordon Green delivers a strong hidari mawashi geri chudan (left middle round house kick) as Pierre St. Onge braces for another impact. The kicking drill involved all of the basic kicks under a wide variety of situations and all concerned were very glad when it was over.
His turn
Pierre St. Onge takes his turn and gives as good as he got. Here he delivers a strong mae geri chudan (middle level front kick) to bag holder Gordon Green during the course of a long kicking exercise while at the right Sarah Bailey is about to do the same to Alaine Reimer. As always their performance is watched over by Sensei Kieran Baldwin seen here in the in the centre of the picture. Sensei Baldwin made sure that this particular drill went on, and on, and on, until all of the students had full filled all of his expectations.
To look at the sky
Seen here performing the kata Kanku Dai which is required for 1st kyu (brown belt) in the FSKA each student shows good focus on the opening movement and they continued this trend throughout the kata earning all of them good marks as a result.
All ears
During a break in the grading, and while waiting for his turn to speak, Sensei Holland, as well as Sempai Tim Trytten, Sempai Barry Norman, and Sempai Bill Camden all pay very close attention to what is being said by Sensei Kieran Baldwin who spoke at length on the subject of what it takes to become a black belt.
Kanku Sho
Once we resumed the grading it was now the turn of those students going for Ni Dan to show their kata and their self defence routines. Seen her during her individual performance of the kata Kanku Sho, Sempai Katharine showed the poise and good form that was to be seen throughout her portion of the grading.
Tekki Sandan
Sempai's Katharine Kaye and Sempai Marilyn Norman set up facing in different directions for their synchronized performance of the kata Tekki Sandan which they would follow with a demonstration of the bunkai for various parts of this kata. Keeping a close eye on their every move is Sempai Curtis Lindsay (Ni Dan) and Sensei Baldwin.
1. Showing the bunkai
Here Sempai Katharine Kaye demonstrates for the panel the portion of Tekki Sandan in which she will play the role of the attacker while Sempai Marilyn Norman waits patiently. After showing the movements to the judges she and Sempai Marilyn then used these movements as the basis for one of their six self defence performances.
2. The look says it all
Here Sempai Katharine, her initial attack now fully contained my Sempai Marilyn's strong defence, awaits the inevitable result.
3. The control
With good control Sempai Marilyn makes her first counter attack.
4. The take down
The counter attack is quickly followed by a leg sweep take down.
5. The finish
With things well in hand Sempai Marilyn puts an end to it as she closes out a strong self defence routine that was appreciated by all in attendance.
Making his point
During his speech about the power of observation Sensei Holland makes a point with the help of a several props placed strategically around the dojo floor. His method of testing the students powers of observation was unique and everyone realized after his lecture that what they thought they saw was not always accurate.
Reversing the roles
After Sensei Holland's lecture the Ni Dan hopefulls once again took to the floor. Here Sempai Marilyn is about to play the role of the attacker giving Sempai Katharine her chance to show the quality of her defence.
Good form
Sempai Katharine Kaye delivers a strong punch to Sempai Marilyn Norman during her self defence portion of their grading, Sempai Marilyn can be seen about to "tap out" in response to the pressure Sempai Katharine is exerting on her right elbow just out of camera range across her left leg.
Four very wet new Sho Dan's
Four very tired new Sho Dan's, in very wet gi's, give a thumbs up at the end of a very long day. Despite their highs and lows throughout the course of the day each student did what they promised they would do - they put it all on the line and they held nothing back. They are all to be commended for their excellent performance, their strong spirit, and the way in which they shared their energy with each other in times of need. They went into this grading as four individuals and they came out of it as a team who together made a memory that will last for a lifetime.
Promoted to Ni Dan
Two good friends, tired but very pleased with the result of their examination, accepted the congratulations of all those in attendance.
Three friends
Seen here with Sensei Lindsay at the end of it all are two very happy sempai's - on the left Sempai Katharine Kaye, Ni Dan (2nd Dan) and on the right Sempai Marilyn Norman, Ni Dan (2nd Dan). Both of these students are strong leaders within the dojo and during their grading they set a high standard of excellence which will become the benchmark for any of those students who may one day choose to follow in their footsteps.
The smiles say it all
Sensei Dan Holland, Sempai Katharine Kaye, Sensei Peter Lindsay, Sempai Marilyn Norman, and Sensei Kieran Baldwin.
The moment they have waited for
At the awards banquet close to 70 guests watched as Sempai Curtis Lindsay (Ni Dan) led all six of the graduating students through a demonstration of basics and kata, then four terrific students, Sempai Gordon Green, (Sho Dan) - Sempai Sarah Bailey, (Sho Dan) - Sempai Alaine Reimer, (Sho Dan) - Sempai Pierre St. Onge, (Sho Dan) proudly accepted their new belts. Seen here Sensei Dan Holland ties on Sempai Gordon Green's new black belt as Sensei Lindsay and Sensei Baldwin look on from the head table.
Ni Dan Awards
Sempai Katharine Kaye accepts her new belt and a promotion to the rank of Nidan, while to the left Sempai Marilyn Norman waits her turn.
Time to relax
After the awards ceremony, and before siting down to dinner, the instructors, fellow students, family members, and invited guests got a chance to mingle with all of the newly promoted students and to congratulate them on their fine achievement and their new rank.
The winners
Sempai Katharine Kaye, (Ni Dan) - Sempai Gordon Green, (Sho Dan) - Sempai Sarah Bailey, (Sho Dan)
- Sempai Alaine Reimer, (Sho Dan) - Sempai Pierre St. Onge, (Sho Dan) - and Sempai Marilyn Norman, (Ni Dan).
To the graduating class of 2002 our congratulations to one and all.
Part the clouds - see the way.
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay