New yellow belts!

Congratulations to the first students to attempt a formal Sobukan grading (Shane Webster graded to yellow belt on the basis of 6 months of private lessons, not a formal grading).

Sobukan grading

The grading was conducted at the Mitcham dojo on Saturday afternoon. Three junior and three senior students tested for promotion, and all succeeded! Congratulations to juniors Mika and Marley Tarver, Connor Seifert and adults Julie Tynan, Dan Sinclair and Marcel (Dizzy) Gillespie!!

Tegumi drills – Dan and Dizzy

The theme for yellow belt is ‘safety and self defence’. The gradings lasted for a  total of about three hours and tested knowledge and skills including a working knowledge of the 4 stages of self defence; dojo ettiquette; Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu’s 12 tegumi (punch defence) drills; tsuki (uke) waza (an application drill for 6 blocks); Judo ukemi waza (breakfalls) and the first 8 throws of the Judo Gokyo.


Juniors were tested on a slightly modified version of the above, but also tested on basic kicks, punches, blocks, a self defence drill, kumite, Judo randori and newaza (ground grappling). Adults were thrown in the deep end with a self defence test involving two attackers armed with a knife and gun.

Grading candidates were given a score out of 10 for the above skills, with 10 being awarded when the demonstrated skill level met my (high) expectations for yellow belt. 80% was the pass mark. This allows students to personalise the curriculum to their own physical, occupational or personal needs, while still encouraging them to work hard on minimising their weaknesses. Therefore, candidates can choose not to demonstrate up to 1/5 of the grading requirements (in particular for medical conditions), as long as the other 4/5 is perfectly in line with my expectations. Alternatively, this gives students the peace of mind that they can make a few mistakes and still be eligible to grade if they know the curriculum well.

Junior judo

Particular credit goes to Marcel Gillespie, Mika Tarver and Connor Seifert who all scored close to perfect scores! Well done all!!

We have at least another half a dozen students close to yellow belt, and Shane Webster is not far from orange belt. One student commented today that he cannot believe that he has only been training for 3 months, as he has learned so much!

I am very proud of Sobukan Martial Arts, and Sobukan student’s achievements over the past 3-4 months! We have a big future to enjoy!!

Multiple attacker training

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