Rene earns plaudits at UK karate event

High Peak Kyokushin Club members at the weekend's UK karate event, held at Lea.
High Peak Kyokushin Club members at the weekend's UK karate event, held at Lea.

High Peak Kyokushin Club hosted representatives from the IKO Kyokushin community when Lea Green Development Centre was the setting at the weekend for an annual summer instruction and grading camp.

And among those doing the club proud was Rene Bailey from Whatstandwell, who was successfully graded to 1st Kyu, the highest grade below black belt.

This was a fantastic achievement on a hard camp with significant number of high grades present.

Two Dojo operators from Durham and London were trying for their 3rd Dan grade, which involved 40 consecutive fights and two others for 2nd Dan (30 fights).

Due to the high number of black belts taking part, Rene and fellow High Peak member Michele Sarginson were asked to referee this part of the test, with Rene officiating all 40 fights for Senpai Adam Walker from Durham, and Michele covering another 30 fights.

This responsibility is normally only undertaken by higher black belt grades, never brown belts, and is very stressful indeed. The success and safety of the candidates is entirely in your hands but both Rene and Michele coped admirably with the pressure and did incredibly well.

Chris Challoner and Adam Tkacz, both from Holloway, also took part in the testing process and had some very tough fights against these extremely determined higher grades,

After this Rene had her own fights, and Michele was involved in the testing of the other female candidates. Rene was the highest graded woman being tested and had the misfortune to be pitted against all of the female black belts, several of whom are national knockdown champions.

Despite this she did well. The whole point of the testing is to see your determination, effort and spirit, not just whether you win or lose any particular fight.

After the camp was over, Shihan Mac Robertson told High Peak Kyokushin’s Senpai Pete Appleton that all of the Shihans were so impressed by the sheer effort Rene put into everything that they even commented that they wished they had more people like that in the organisation.

He said: “Kyokushin is not all about natural ability and skill, but more about endurance, commitment and determination to succeed under pressure, and Rene demonstrated all of these attributes and so was awarded her grade.”

In addition to the grading part of the weekend, students enjoyed using the Lea Green assault course, weapons training outside in the sunshine on Sunday, and a number of sessions on Kata, fighting techniques, self defence and Bunkai (applications of kata), a huge amount of exercise, and a very entertaining social hour or two on the Saturday evening.

Pete Appleton added: “All in all, a fantastic weekend for the club and for the local area. The instructors and GB officials were so happy with Lea Green, its facilities and the friendliness and quality of service from the staff, that we have been asked to book it again for next year’s summer camp.

“Let’s hope it becomes an annual event here.”