On Sunday 16th March we welcomed back Sensei Garry Harford 7th Dan to York Elite for our club grading. Sensei Harford took an intense class in the morning for our 1st Kyu and Dan grades. As usual we were treated to an inspirational display of control and technical precision across the full range of karate techniques. The common view from everyone who attended was that this was one of the best classes we've ever had at the dojo and we extend our sincere thanks to Sensei Harford for the opportunity.

In the afternoon 35 of our Kyu Grades trained and graded with Sensei Harford who also expressed his pleasure at the  progress made by a number of our members since his last visit.

Congratulations to the following members who all successfully passed their grading:

Cieran Hallam, Kathryn Kerr, Henry Leites, Jocelin Leites, Freddie Lightfoot, William Lightfoot, Lorien Lightfoot, Edward Nussey-Waite, Callum Rutherford, Elissia Steenson, Aasiyah Surve, Aaron Clements, Grace Kerr, Oliver Norton, Daniel White, Jake Buckton, Cai Jackson, Dave White, Nathaniel Clements, Max Fentiman, Daniel Glover, Mason Kilner, Gracie Kilner, Rachel Poels, Thomas Howell, Charlie Hutchinson, Jack Nelson, Ellie Blundell, Dominic Dawson, John Dawson, Alexsander Lazarov, Matthew Poels, Eleanor Poels, Joshua Dagwell, and Constantino Odell.

Many thanks to Sensei Harford and we look forward to seeing him back at the dojo later in the year.

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York Elite Dan Grade members increased by two today as Brian Woods and Carly Pringle successfully achieved their Shodan Black Belts under Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan and Sensei Frank Brennan 7th Dan KUGB. Both Brian and Carly put in great performances on the day and really deserve their belts after all of the hard work and training they've put in at the club.

Carly and Brian with Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan after successfully grading for Shodan in Chesterfield.

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On Friday 10th January we held our Annual Awards Party to celebrate the fantastic year we had over the last 12 months as a club and to recognise some great achievements from our members.

The evening started with a speedquiz event (rapidly becoming a regular feature) which required a broad range of knowledge covering karate, kids TV, general knowledge and the ability to recognise some of the instructors when they were a lot younger! With the lead changing a number of times the quiz was finally won by Team Van Wyk (despite being less than half the size of some of the other teams!) so congrats to Mauby, Terence and family.

The main event of the evening was the handing out of the awards and certificates. Special mention should go to our two England Competitors who were presented with awards in special recognition of their performances on national and international stages including the European and World Championships over the last year. With regional, national and international success for many of our karate-ka it was a year to remember with the main awards listed below :

  • U-12 competitor of the Year - Connor Dunckley
  • 12 and over Competitor of the Year - Rosa Kerr
  • Bushido Award Junior Grades - Jack Nelson
  • Bushido Award Senior Grades - Carly Pringle
  • Karateka of the Year - Cayleigh McCartney
  • Special Recognition Award - Sammi King
  • Special Recognition Awards - Fraser Grice

Congrats to all award winners and those who got certficates and special thanks to all of the friends and family who put so much effort into supporting our members over the year. Your contribution to the club's success is really appreciated.

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We welcomed Senseis John Holdsworth 6th Dan and Sensei Julie Nicholson 6th Dan to York Elite on Sunday 15th December. The day started with a special training class for 2 hours for 1st Kyus and Dan Grades. The class focussed on Kata basics picking up on the detail needed to advance in competition and finished with kumite drills. The quality of instruction and the detail of the techniques on display was fantastic and greatly appreciated by our Senior Grades.

After a short break Senseis held an extended training session for our Kyu Grades followed by grading examination for 45 York Elite Members. Congratulations to everyone who graded and, while there is plenty to work on(!), there were some fantastic performances notably from Kaspar Lakin, Dylan Higson and Dave White who each progressed by two grades due to their strong performances.

We'd like to extend our thanks and grateful appreciation to Sensei Holdsworth and Sensei Nicholson for a superb day and look forward to welcoming them back to York Elite in the near future.

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On Saturday 26th we sent 18 warriors from York Elite to do battle at the KUGB Northern Region Championships in Sunderland. For some like Sophie and Ellie this was their first experience of a competition of this status and everyone did us proud.  

There were some notable performances. Brian did well in the Adult Kyu Grade Kata (although we're still looking for the missing mae geri in Heian Nidan!) After a bit of disappointment in the team kata, Rosa had a storming run in the girls kumite and was very unlucky to be DQ'd in the semi-finals for what on another day would have been an ippon jodan zuki. Sammi stunned herself by getting into the finals of the female dan grades kata despite the number of recent world champions competing in her kata and kumite categories. 

And it wasn't just the senior grades that shone. Hugh Fowler had a great battle in the boys kumite taking it to extra time against an experienced black belt before narrowly losing out. The hastily formed kata team of Oliver, Connor and Owen also did really well and were very unlucky not to make the finals after a tie.

Full results are below and the York Elite Team consisted of: Fraser Grice, Sammi King, Rosa Kerr, Cayleigh McCartney, Julia Coatesworth, Joseph Lines, Oliver Lines, Brian Woods, Ellie Blundell, Sam Blundell, Owen Dunckley, Connor Dunckley, James McNichol, Hugh Fowler, Sophie Fowler, Kimberley Strachan, Harvey Hunter and Mackenzie Hunter.

Results : 7 medals 
Bronzes for Sam & Olly in the boys 10 & 11 kumite
Bronze for Joe in the boys kumite 12 - 15
Bronze for Kim in the girls 10 & 11 kumite
Bronze for Rosa in the girls 12 - 15 kumite
Bronze for Fraser in the junior male kumite
Bronze for Sammi in junior ladies kata!

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