The Maritime IKD welcomed six new 1st degree Black Belts and two new 3rd degree Black Belts over the weekend.

International Karate Daigaku’s founder and chief instructor, Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai, 9th Dan, visited the region and conducted a two day clinic and grading. This event saw many aspiring karateka test for their next kyu rank. The colored belts or “kyu” ranks are the stepping stones to Shodan which means 1st step. So as a first degree black belt you are truly only beginning to learn the art of karate.

Receiving a Shodan at this weekend’s clinic are:

  • Nicholas Bellefleur – Moncton IKD
  • Chris Benson – Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy
  • Todd Benson – Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy
  • Adam Kelly – Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy
  • Samuel Theriault – Moncton IKD
  • Steven Wong – PEI Shotokan Karate Daigaku

These 6 new members of the “Black Belt Club” make 290 students who have achieved the rank of Shodan in our region since 1976.

1-2 out of every 100 students reach Black Belt and of those only 1 out of every 1,000 achieves his 2nd Dan.

Mas Oyama

This quote by Master Mas Oyama, hold true as a mere 91 of of the 290 Black belts have continued their training to earn a 2nd degree Black belt. To become a 3rd Dan is even more of an exclusive club.

Receiving the rank of Sandan, 3rd degree Black Belt this weekend are:

  • Heather Faulkner – Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy
  • Jolene Robitza – Mount Allison Shotokan Karate Club

These ladies join an elite club on only 40 people.

The rest of the ranks are very rare in the region with only 15 rising to 4th degree black belt and a mere 9 to the rank of 5th Dan. Continuing to 6th Dan only 3 with Shihan Janice and Shihan David Pyke being the only 7th and 8th Dans in the region.

To advance to the rank of Black Belt is a huge step in one’s karate career but to continue and strive for higher levels is truly the challenge. We at congratulate the new Black Belts and give one piece of advise.

Don’t give up! Karate is a life long journey. One that will bring great things to those that persevere.


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