On Saturday at the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) Black and Brown Belt course eight year old Alex Dearlove passed his Black belt.
Alex, who is following in his brothers footsteps Ryan, has been training since he was 4 years old has been training hard all year long to reach the high standard set by the KUGB Examiners. He travelled to Egham, Surrey early on the Saturday morning and trained alongside the many Brown belts who were taking the exam later that day.
Chelmsford is a family club and there were over seventeen other Club members who had gone along to train with Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) and Sensei Frank Brennan (8th Dan) and support Alex in his quest. His brother Ryan and another young Black Belt even asked if they could train in the Brown Belt Class and although it is unusual as their is Black belt class immediately following were permitted to do so.
The exam itself is a closed door exam and other than those taking the exam only their Club Instructors were allowed into watch. Sensei Jane (5th Dan) gave Alex a few quiet words of encouragement as his name was called out and the confident eight year old got up to take his exam. Alex has the advantage that he gets to train alongside World, European and British Champions at the Chelmsford Club and it was evident that the need for speed, power and excellent technique had rubbed off. Alex, the youngest candidate, performed his advanced Kihon (techniques/combinations) and Kata (set forms) to the high standard expected. However, it was his Kumite (fighting) that won him many admirers and positive feedback on the day from the Examiners. Against a larger and older opponent he showed tremendous fighting spirit and skill to defend, counter and attack.
At the end of the exam it was fantastic to hear Sensei Sherry say that Alex had passed his 'Shodan' - First Dan Black Belt. Well done.
Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan and KUGB Southern Region Secretary) said "Alex has been incredible. I have watched him grow and develop over the past 4 years. His success has been based on his enjoyment of Karate training and a work ethic where in every class he gives 100%. Karate teaches not only self defence but poisitve charactersitics such as confidence, courtesy, respect and good behaviour. Alex is a pleasure to teach and one to look out for now and in the future"
Photo: Alex Dearlove with Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan folloing his Black Belt success in Egham