On Sunday the 21st April, Emma Burke, Richard Kheder and Richard Naylor-Jones attended the free KUGB Special Dan Course in Chesterfield. The main Sports Hall was packed with Black belts from 1st to 8th Dan all training under Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan), Chief Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB), alongside Sensei Bob Poynton (8th Dan) and Frank Brennan (8th Dan). All the Black belts were given a Masterclass in advanced kihon, kata and kumite.
For Emma the hard work wasn't over as this course was then followed by a higher dan grading examination. She had been working extremely hard over recent years and in particular the last few months to prepare for this challenge. This included competing at the KUGB National Championships and Southern Region Championships last year where she helped Chelmsford retain the Female Team Kumite title for the second year in succession.
Emma, together with those taking the exam, went into a private room to face the examination panel that consisted of the three Special Dan Grade Course Instructors Sensei Sherry, Sensei Poynton and Sensei Brennan.
(l-r) Sensei Frank Brennan (8th Dan), Emma Burke (3rd Dan), Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) and Sensei Bob Poynton (8th Dan)
When the doors finally opened Emma appeared with a big smile as she had passed her Sandan (3rd Dan). Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan) said "The technical standards of the KUGB are very high so for Emma to pass today under the watchful eye of three of the most famous British Karate Instructors is a tremendous achievement. We are very proud of her."
A very proud Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones with Chelmsford's newest 3rd Dan, Emma Burke
Well done to Emma she joins an elite group of Black belts from Chelmsford that, over the past 50 years of our history, have reached this level within the KUGB showing the dedication and determination to succeed.