SUNDAY, April 30 saw a number of karate students and instructors gather for a day of squad style training, black and brown belt course and black belt grading, writes Ash Hawkes.

The day started at West Charleton Village Hall with Jay Hawkes Sensei (5th Dan) leading the squad training session. The students participating were tasked with exercises that had them concentrating on timing and distance whilst making the right movements under attack.

Students paired up and were put through these various exercises in order to develop those aspects necessary in good Kumite (Karate fighting). The session finished with competition-style bouts with judges showing flags (left or right) for the side they thought had scored with a sound karate technique.

All were pushed out of their comfort zone and learned a lot about what is required in a tournament.

The second session of the day then followed, led by Ash Hawkes Sensei (6th Dan) and assisted by Sal Hawkes (3rd Dan). The group of brown and black belts (with purple belts there by invitation only) studied Jitte which is a well-known Shotokan Karate Kata.

After running through the Kata (a series of prescribed movements) these movements were deciphered, understood and practiced on partners and the aspects of generating power were tested on strike pads. The history of the Kata was discussed and each students gained a better understanding of the depth of Kata practice. At the same time, Jay Sensei took the examination candidates and ran them through their requirements for their grading.

The day ended with the black belt test or Dan Grading. Under the watchful eye of eight Chi Rei Kai Sensei, ranging from 2nd Dan to 6th Dan, candidates tested for their desired grade.

They each had to qualify for the grade they were being tested for by having completed an amount of time and training since the previous grade. Each candidate had to demonstrate the requirements of the Chi Rei Kai syllabus for their particular grade. This involves a demonstration of moving techniques forward and backward (Ido Kihon), defending themselves from an attacker in either pre-set drills or free fighting (Kumite) and a performance of their chosen Kata together with a performance of the examiner-imposed Kata. Each did all of this following two hours of rigorous training.

Two of the candidates regularly teach at South Hams venues and are well-known for putting on classes that are challenging but enjoyable whilst teaching quality karate in a very professional manner.

Chi Rei Kai teaches karate at five South Hams venues throughout the week and anyone interested in finding out more should go to or contact us via 077925 74745 or email [email protected].

The successful candidates were:-

Patrick Wills, who achieved first-degree black belt (Sho dan); Luceanne Belton, who achieved second-degree black belt (Ni dan) and Charlotte Hawkes, who achieved second-degree black belt (Ni dan).