Fantastic four pass black belt test

Kyle Armstrong
Kyle Armstrong
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FOUR young karate students from Sensei Bassett’s Black Belt Academy in Oakham have passed a landmark test - their black belt gradings this month.

Molly Bartram, 12, Rachael O’Donovan, Kyle Armstrong and Anthony Copeman, all 14, were put through their paces for 90 minutes with a variety of tests of fitness, technique and strength. Throughout the 90 minutes they would have to perform press-ups and sit-ups to demonstrate their fitness.

The quartet also had eight routines to perform called katas which consist of kicks, blocks and punches before the final part of the grading, kumite (sparring) and board breaking. Students were first asked to perform a Yoki-geri side kick and a mawashi-empi forearm strike to a board that was so thick it took three adults to hold the board so that the force of the kick didn’t move the board back. All of the students successfully broke the board to complete their grading.

Their instructor Josh Bassett said: “I was so pleased for them. They’ve really been training hard for this with some of them coming to four consecutive days of training a week leading up to the grading.

“This now means our club has produced 26 black belts in our nine year history with plenty more coming through.”

He added: “I was 12 years old when I did my black belt grading. It’s a very tense affair.

“Examiners don’t want to make the mistake of awarding a black belt to someone who hasn’t reached that level. They also don’t get to see the students training everyday like an instructor would so if you don’t perform at your best then they have to grade you on what they see.”

Hoping for a post-Olympic boost in martial arts interest, Bassett said: “The success of the Olympics will hopefully inspire more people to take up sports and that the success of my students will inspire children to take up martial arts like Karate.”

For details of the juniors classes call Josh on 07769 653358 or visit Catmose Sports Centre, Oakham, for a free trial on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (5-6pm) and Thursdays and Fridays (4.30-5.30pm).