Latest updates from across the academy

By Admin
31 December 2023 10:08 am

2023 was another incredible success story for Bristol Karate Academy members, even compared to the high standards set in 2022! We look back on some of your highlights from throughout the year.

More free training sessions

Throughout the year, our members had the opportunity to train in 452 hours of coached karate lessons across our four dojos. We offered 24 free karate sessions throughout the year, starting in January with our annual ‘kangeiko’ cold weather training. If you fancy joining us in 2024 for kangeiko then keep your eyes peeled for more information.

We increased the number of free elite and development squad sessions on offer in 2023, with lots of you taking up the opportunity to get to grips with free sparring in our monthly kumite development squad sessions, open to everyone from orange belt upwards.  The standard of kumite has definitely improved and we look forward to seeing this continuing in 2024, as we continue to run these free classes.

Levelling up

So many of you have attempted and passed gradings this year. Collectively you’ve passed 178 gradings between you! This includes a record 113 9th to 1st kyu passes, the most ever in a year in the club’s history.

When it’s come to dan gradings, the success has been just as impressive. Congratulations to Oli Hulbert, who became the latest Academy black belt in July and also to Alistair Hanlon that passed his JKS crossover shodan exam.

Well done to both Joel Olivier and Juan Rodrigues, who passed their Nidan (2nd Dan) exams in April, under a grading panel led by Head of JKS England, Alan Campbell Sensei.

Finally, congratulations to our Chief Instructor, Tim Griffiths Sensei. Tim passed his Rokudan (6th Dan) exam at the JKS International Seminar in Japan under a grading panel led by the JKS World Chief Instructor, Kagawa Shihan.  Rokudan is a rare achievement! Tim also passed his international ‘D’ licence instructor, examiner and tournament judge qualifications at the same event.

Well done to you all! We look forward to seeing your continued progress in the year ahead!

More seminars!

This year we held more seminars than ever, with five guest instructors teaching across four events. We started the year with a double header with senseis Nick Heald and Ashley Scott-Heald, swiftly followed by a special seminar with our first ever guest instructor from Japan: international HQ instructor and former JKS world champion, Makita Sensei!

In summer we were delighted to welcome back Steve Carless Sensei, before rounding off the year with a visit from Matt Price Sensei.

We’re very grateful to all of these instructors for sharing their talents with us and we can only put on events like this through the support of our loyal members, so thanks for supporting the seminars! We look forward to bringing back some popular guests and introducing you to new ones in 2024.

More JKS national squad members!

We’re delighted to have four Academy karateka as JKS England squad members this year, with Tim Griffiths selected for kata, Josh Mashford and Adnan Mahmud selected for kumite and Liam Mashford selected for both.

In October we were very pleased to hear that Tim Griffiths was selected to be part of the JKS England team to go to the JKS World Cup held in Tokyo in July 2024! A wonderful achievement.

More medals!

Collectively, you picked up 34 medals at tournaments in 2023! That’s a massive 79% more than in 2022 - and another Academy record.

There have been so many stand-out performances from those entering tournaments this year, whether for the first time and whether medalling or not. But there have been a few notable successes that we’d love to look back on.

Since joining the Academy, Adnan Mahmud has shown a lot of potential in kumite. He was able to realise this at the English Karate Federation National Championships in the summer, where he picked up a silver medal in the -60kg kumite event. This is the first senior medal at this elite tournament for an Academy member since 2006, so we’re very proud of Adnan’s achievement.

This year was the first time we’ve headed abroad for a WKF-style tournament on the international circuit: The Basel International Open! Congratulations to Steven Connell, Dan Salter and Tim Griffiths for their bronze in the senior team kata and well done to Tim Griffiths, Caroline Walton and Ian Connell for medalling in the veteran events. An excellent job!

While there have been many other medals and tournaments in 2023, it was with great pride that we finished the year with our best ever performance at the JKS England National Championships. We took home 16 medals across all age groups, including five titles! Congratulations to Luke Mashford, Benjamin Griffiths, Taylor Gibney, Tim Griffiths, Dan Salter, Steven Connell, Liam Mashford, Nephele Metsiou, Olive Davies and Scarlett Jones, who all took home medals!

We look forward to seeing many more members stepping onto the tatami in the year ahead, whether for the first time or for a return to competition.

Big goals and small ones

Beyond these highlights, we’ve seen so many of you making day in, day out improvements and reaching your own goals, whether that’s learning a new kata or stepping into the dojo for the first time.

We’re so proud of both the big wins and the little ones. Thank you for all your hard work and support in 2023.

What are your personal goals for 2024? Let us know! We look forward to helping you work towards them in the new year.