The morning started off as always with students practicing outside, for last minute perfection and settling those pesky nerves. It was hard to guess who was really nervous and who was just cold. Probably a little of both truths be known. Then, it was game on starting with the red belts and working through the ranks down to our whites. Some belt levels had to do their current form as well as the one below while the senior’s had to attempt a board break. All were successful.
Grading’s will always endeavour to bring out the very best in some students while others will struggle, as is the nature of life, never the less everyone performed at their very best ability and achieved what they had set out to do. There is a special mention to a few of our students. Several of the senior instructors made comment about our Brown belt, now Hi-Brown Charlotte Newey. They were impressed with her and the fact that she was on her own. Also included with a mention were our two Hi- Yellow belts now Green Elias Bassil and Jayden Pop. They both brought up the level and were so impressive that Kwan Jang Nim himself made comment on their sparing and overall performance. Great work indeed.
We then took a break from grading with an all-girl demonstration of Poomsae Chung-Mu Hon and free sparing. Many of the spectators commented on how good the girls spared and how impressive their techniques were.
The obvious highlight of the day was our very own Matthew Rahn testing for his 5th Dan Black Belt. Starting with Poomsae Taebaek the 3rd Dan Form followed by Poomsae Pyongwon, the 4th Dan Form, he was moved into free sparing two against one finishing up with his selected demonstrations.
The demonstrations were nothing short of spectacular starting with a 5 board timber break, followed with a short- staff demo finishing off with a Long Kama demonstration using balloons and his brother, Jason. To his credit, Jason didn’t move a muscle, which was probably a good idea. These demonstrations were meet with ooh and arrrrs as well as thunderous applause. The grading was concluded with Stephen Smith kicking and apple through a sword using a jumping round house kick retaining all his toes in the process.
The presentations were made and new belts tied with now only congratulations to be made and photos taken. There was certainly a sigh of relief and a sense of job well done and hopefully time made to celebrate.
As a footnote Matthew was asked how long he had been training, “18 years’ sir” was the reply and there is an interesting point to this statement. He graded to 5th Dan on the 25th of June 2016, his very first grading, where he obtained a yellow belt, was on the 26th of June 1999. I don’t think we could have gotten it any closer.
Pennant Hills Center
The grading a Pennant Hills on Tuesday night is always a smaller affair however no less spectacular in quality or performance. We sent 11 students to grade. This combined with the 25 or so from other centres made for a great night.
Everyone worked really hard and did a fantastic job with their forms, speed training and free sparring. High Blue Belts and above had to break boards as part of their test. The audience and students also got to enjoy another round of board breaking, stick spinning and balloon popping from Matt, as well another apple splitting demonstration from Steven.
Congratulations to everyone who participated. It is always pleasing to see students of all ages work to the best of their ability and accomplish the dreams they have. So now it’s time to earn that new belt and remember to always reach for the stars and be the best you can be.