On Sunday the 23rd April, Kelly Hodkinson, 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 Karate.
For Kelly Hodkinson the day had not ended as this course was then followed by a 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 Southern Regions earlier this month and helping the Chelmsford Ladies retain the Team Kumite title for the second year in succession.
Kelly along with those taking the exam went into a private to face the examination panel that consisted of the three Special Dan Grade Course Instructors Sensei Sherry, Sensei Poynton and Sensei Brennan. No Coaches were allowed into watch so Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones waited patiently outside for two hours.
When the doors were finally opened Kelly appeared with a big smile as she had passed her Sandan (3rd Dan). Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan) said "Once I entered the room it became quickly apparent that Kelly was only one of two people who had passed Sandan out of a much larger group taking the exam. The technical standards of the KUGB are very high so for Kelly to pass today under the watchful eye of three of the most famous British Karate Instructors is a tremendous achievement".
Well done to Kelly 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.
Photo: Kelly Hodkinson with two of the Grading Examiners after passing her Sandan - Sensei F Brennan and Sensei A Sherry