Agile students climb the ranks
SENSEI Steve Andrews can recognise discipline when he sees it and would not have credited the latest batch of Emerald karate students with their next ranking if he did not believe it was warranted, according to TSKF Emerald Karate secretary Leanne Jochim.
"Steve won't grade them if he doesn't think they deserve it," Jochim said.
To have 17 of 17 Emerald students pass the test of Steve's ever-attentive eye and be graded to the next rank is a credit to the club and the training undertaken.
Sensei Andrews, an instructor from Lang Park in Brisbane, makes regular trips to the Central Highlands to grade local students.
This year he set the stage for the next generation of budding karate hopefuls looking to make their mark on the big stage at the National Titles on the Gold Coast.
Jochim said the new rankings were unlikely to intimidate the national competition candidates, despite having as little as three months to prepare in their new divisions.
It was on the eve of the Queensland State Titles in Emerald earlier this year that a number of local students were also graded to their next respective rankings, seemingly suffering no ill effects from the sudden boost in credentials.
"It is part and parcel of what they do," Jochim said.
If anything, the gradings looked to have lifted their competitive spirit to another level, with Emerald Karate winning its first ever President's Cup for highest points of any club at the tournament.
"It's the first one we've won that I know of," Jochim said.
And it looks to have inspired yet more students to better themselves in the sport.
"I know a lot of those who competed in Emerald are as keen as mustard (for Nationals)," she said.
"It's got them really excited.
"And it's a new generation of people who are coming through wanting a go."
While the young may form the bulk of Emerald's karate contingent, a few old salts in the background are showing why age is certainly no barrier.
David Long, Paul Oates and Craig Swinbourne were each graded to brown belts by Sensei Andrews in Emerald.
It is hoped the newly ranked trio will continue to thrive in their own karate development, providing invaluable support for Emerald's chief instructor Sensei Glen Johansen.
Newcomers looking for their start in karate are welcome to attend beginner's lessons on Mondays from 6pm-7.30pm and Thursdays from 6pm-7pm at the Emerald Town Hall.