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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Probably the best way to prepare for Shodan

There are always a couple of questions that I am asked more regularly than any other question.

For those new to karate it may be "How long does it take to get a black belt?" which I often say it depends on how regularly you train and how committed to the training you are when you do train ...

The question that is often asked from a more experienced enquirer is "Are you a traditional or a sports karate club?" This is a little more difficult to answer ... personally I would describe myself as a traditional karateka and the club is run on traditional lines. However I think SSKC offer the best of both worlds. You need to develop your skills from a strong foundation so Kihon, Kata and up to semi-freestyle kumite form the framework of development.
Our club is affiliated to JKS England and Wales and our members take regular advantage of training with National and International instructors. SSKC also has strong links with Matt Price Sensei the JKS England squad coach who teaches regularly at our club. The club competes at Regional and National competitions and provides access to the JKS England squad. Also via the JKS Squad is the opportunity to access the EKF national squad and ultimately the possibility to be an Olympian.

So one of the first big steps in developing your karate skills or becoming a competition karateka is to achieve your Shodan (1st degree black belt).
Well most people don't give this much thought and don't even think about it until they reach brown belt, my advice would be as follows.....
1. Start early as a low kyu grade, but be focused on what you are doing and enjoy it.
2. Attend regularly.
3. Work hard when you are at the dojo.
4. Attend courses when you get the opportunity to widen your experience beyond that of your club instructor.
5. Participate in competitions to develop your skill in becoming comfortable in an uncomfortable environment and get used to the fact that it will probably take some time.
How long will the journey take .... probably 5 to 7 years and then the hard work begins....

Below is a montage of Leah's journey to date, don't focus too much on the destination, just enjoy the journey.
There are never any guarantees of Shodan, but if want to follow a strong path you could do a lot worse than following Leah's example.
How many National and International instructors do you recognise in Leah's journey so far?

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