Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy were proud to host its first Dan grading for its students since its inception in 1999. Seeing three of its students graduate to the coveted black belt grades. Making a small piece of history as students Parvez Sultan and Dev Patel became the first students to travel the path from white to black belt, having started training 6 years ago. Both achieved passes with merit along with fellow student Tomasz Kubicki (who joined the Academy as a coloured belt) and Assistant Instructor, Vikram Gautum who passed his 2nd dan, again with a merit pass. Ben Pethick from London Panthers Taekwon-do also took part and graded to second degree.

Rayners Lane Taekwon-do is renowned for having very high standards and expecting a lot from students and this grading was no exception. The grading lasted a gruelling 7 hours with candidates having previously taken part in a pre-grading two weeks prior, which in itself lasted 5 hours, and a theory exam which lasted two and a half hours.

The grading encompassed the following which was performed, examined and scrutinised by a panel of 7 Dan grades ranging from 6th to 3rd dan and witnesses (1st/2nd dans):

Saju Makgi, Saju Jirugi, Chon-Ji, Dan-Gun, Do-San, Won-Hyo, Yul-Gok, Joong-Gun, Toi-Gye, Hwa-Rang and Choong-Moo tul for 1st kups, plus Kwang-Gae, Ge-Baek and Po-Eun tul for the 1st degrees (who also had to perform some of the coloured belt patterns).

All grades performed, 3 Step Sparring, 2 Step Sparring, 1 Step Sparring (Traditional)  as well as 1 Step Sparring with single attacks of any techniques, on any side. 1st dan also had to perform Foot Sparring.

Students then performed Relaxed 1 Step with knife (2 rounds), Hosinsul (Self Defence techniques) firstly with frontal attacks (2 rounds), then with rearward attacks (2 rounds), with the 1st Dan having to demonstrate Close Quarter knife defences firstly from the front and then from the rear followed by the 1st dans having to describe and demonstrate pressure point attacks.

All students performed Traditional Sparring (meaning they can kick, strike, sweep, take down and throw) over 2 rounds, followed by Free sparring with knife attacks.

Students then padded up and performed Traditional Free Sparring over 2 rounds (with more contact allowed), which was followed by Idale Matsogi (2 v 1 Sparring), then Choke Sparring (a form of ground based sparring).

The grading concluded with the destruction element, seeing the 1st kups having to perform Twio Yop Cha Jirugi (Jumping Side Piercing Kick) through two boards, with both legs, and the 1st dans performing Twio Dollyo Chagi (Jumping Turning kick) at head height, again on both legs. At this grading, 2 boards is 1 black board & 1 cream board, whilst single board breaks are required through a black board.

The required hand technique for 1st kups was Fore Fist Punch through two boards and for 1st Dans, Knifehand Strike through two boards. All students also had to perform a hand technique of choice through a black board on their weak side.

The 1st kups were also required to perform a break througha  black board with no measuring or distance taking by simply walking up to the holder and strike), with a basic kicking technique chosen at random for each leg. With 1st dans having to perform Reverse Turning kick through two boards, plus a chosen technique with no measure picked at random by the examiners, again through two boards.

The grading concluded with the Technical Break Demonstrations, which are chosen by the students themselves. This section showed some interesting choices with Vikram Gautum chosing to demonstrate a 6 inch break (think similar to 1 inch punch but with the foot) with Dollyo Chagi through two boards, which saw him having wooden planks broken over both his leg (whilst locked out) and Shoulder simultaneously, just before the kick, followed by a stepping side kick through two boards and a jumping reverse turning kick held  7 foot high! Ben Pethick chose to demonstrate a Jumping reverse turning kick air break through two boards (held 7 foot high with a  gap between the two) followed by a flying side kick over another student. Tomasz Kubicki chose to demonstrate a High section jumping turning kick, followed by a knifehand strike and flying high kick, whilst Dev Patel chose a jumping back kick break, followed by a flying side kick over another student through two boards. Parvez Sultan demonstrated a consecutive double turning kick, followed by a 360 degree turning kick through two boards.

7 hours and 6 tired students later, the exam was finished. A few bumps, bruises and a tiny bit of blood, but all in all a hard effort by all. Unfortunately, despite the efforts not all were fortunate to pass as the examination committee maintained and required a very high standard, but those that made it through and received promotions certainly earned it, maintaining the true worth of what a black belt should mean.

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Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy Dan grading
11th March, 2006
Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy Dan grading
11th March, 2006