My fourth Dan grading

Massimo4thDanHaving started practicing kickboxing in 1981 I could say that my approach to grading has been quite relaxed. Last Thursday, 21st Feb 2013, I finally passed my fourth Dan grading, a rank that many people achieve in their late twenties or early thirties and within 15 or so years of experience in one martial art. To some extent I was never too rushed into the next rank: it surely is a good recognition of personal achievements but it doesn’t bring to the bearer any better martial skills. In my opinion a rank is just a title and a way of comparing your experience and achievements with others. At the beginning of my experience I initially managed to skip a couple of ranks and qualified 3 Kyu (3 ranks from first Dan) within two years but it was not until 6 years later when I got my black belt I 1989. In my experience of late while the first and second Dan grading are still very much based around one’s personal performance there is a substantial shift in expectations from the third Dan and above.

The examiner, represented by Neville Wray (pictured on the right) current vice president of Wako GB and one of the top ranked kickboxers in UK, wants to see you running a class, the quality of your teaching and consequently the quality of student’s style, knowledge of technique and individual preparation. To some extent it is quite natural to expect that a person ranked third rank or above would be running a club or at least a class so the quality of their technique, as well as their teaching abilities can be measured by how well their team performs. In my case I was very pleased of having a nice and varied class of 36 people ranging between beginners with just a few weeks experience all the way to 4 black belt and 5 instructors. I did run our usual warm up, then split the class in two groups; I run the advanced group while one of my instructors took care of the lowers grades and beginners. During the first 40 minutes of techniques we displayed some combinations that are typical of the CARISMA curriculum, like fast double kicks with one leg, various applications of the axe kick and various situations of attack and defence. I then switched group and demonstrated how I teach some of the most basic techniques and postures to beginners. The whole class behaved, very much like in most classes but with a bit of extra discipline, like a single organism with people pausing and listening when I was explaining new techniques and then immediately performing the various combinations on my command. Naville first congratulated with me privately mentioning how good the class he saw was. He then announced to the class the successful result pointing out the quality of teaching and techniques he saw, how well everybody behaved and the fact that on a scale of 1 to 10 he would rank the technical skills at 11 🙂

I am very pleased of having finally reached my fourth Dan; it was particularly interesting to see my pictures tagged on Facebook receiving many congratulation comments and a large number of Likes from friends located all over the world. I do not feel I am a much better martial artist then I was on Thurs morning… but it surely feels good 🙂 Now it’s time to start thinking fifth Dan.

CARISMA Town vs. Gown 2013 – the results

TG2010We had a great show on Saturday 16 February at the CARISMA Town vs. Gown Kickboxing 2013; I was particularly proud to see the variety of experiences and ages in the show that all contributed to a great result.  Here is the summary of fights and club scores:

ARUKBC: 0 win, 3 loss: 3 points
CARISMA: 7 win, 6 loss: 27 points (winners)
CUKBS: 6 win, 7 loss: 25 points

And here the list of all fights with respective winner:

Club Fighter Club Fighter Winner
CA Yiwen Hon vs. CA Natasha Taylor Natasha
CA Ksenia Titorenko vs. CU Maeve Doherty Ksenia
CA Saniya Patil vs. CA Penka Petrova Penka
CU Tim Williamson vs. CU Kostas Ziovas Tim
CU Naz Paudyhal vs. AR Andy Martin Naz
CU Charlie Samson vs. AR Pavel Solomein Charlie
CU Raz Jabary vs. CA Simone Masiero Raz
CU Samuel Dahan vs. CA Alex Kaus Alex
CU Isaac Elliott vs. CA Theo Morton Theo
CU Joe Bates vs. CU Anton Marusenko Joe
CU Matt Clarkson vs. CA Alexey Kravets Alexey
CU Alex Elliott vs. CA Felix Schmitten Felix
AR Yasmeen Mansour vs. CU Francesca Benzi Francesca

Many of the fighters entering this competition had just a few months of experience as they joined their respective clubs in September or October 2012.  All fights were well balanced and a few of the athletes have surprised us with performance beyond their usual standards.  It takes a lot of courage to train, get ready and step into a ring for the first time so a big well done to everybody fighting in this edition of Town vs. Gown, particularly those at their first experience.  Videos and pictures to follow.

Beginners Course March 2013

busyclassThe next CARISMA beginners course will start on Tuesday 19 March 2013, to run for 4 consecutive Tuesday and Thursday classes (e.g. 19, 21, 26, 28).

January was, as usual, one of our busiest months in terms of recruitment and we are very close to a saturation point (see picture).  If you would like to join CARISMA (or you know somebody who would like to) please do it on 19 March as we might not run another beginners’ course for while after this.

Please notice: you must join the beginners’ course just if you are a total beginnner. Any previous experience in striking martial arts (kickboxing, muai thai, karate, tae kwon do, kung fu, etc…) is appreciated and will allow you to join without going through the beginners’ course. Please get in touch with us if in doubt.

If you’d like to check our prices please look at this page. Please notice that Kelsey Kerridge charges a day entry to every non member entering their premises.

There is no need for booking for beginners: please just turn up at 6pm at Kelsey Kerridge.