The black belt grading at the weekend was a great affair, a fabulous day whether watching or taking part. We had twelve candidates taking the grading and it was a full on day with the grading lasting over four hours. We would have probably gone on more but we were out of time. By the end everyone was tired, battered and bruised. The grading is a real test and it’s my intention to have it as the gold standard for black belt gradings. Something to be proud of for the rest of your life and entry into an elite club where all have passed the same test. We regularly fail people even close friends. The standard is the standard with no accommodation made for sex, injury or disability. We expect the candidates to show their knowledge of JKD and Kali as part of the curriculum with all candidates expected to show great skill in boxing and kickboxing, JKD and Jun fan trapping and kickboxing, Panantukan from Kali, some silat and a lot of thai boxing technique too. All in all they have to be a complete fighter. Not only do they have to know all this stuff in a technical sense they then have to show it in free play and in full contact sparring and last but not least the infamous two on one sparring. It’s here where they fight two of the seniors who’ve also been through this test for their black belt so they know how to test you. When you’ve got nothing left we want to see what you’ve got. What FIGHTING SPIRIT is left after everything else has gone. The twelve candidates: Husna Nessa, Barry Harte, Paul Clark, Julian gilmour, Benet brandreth, Richard Lee, John Lau, Ben Mohammed, Jamie Hillman, Han ter park, Anil Waughray, and Graeme Mccormack were all outstanding though they all had their highs and their lows. Congratulations to all of you and many thanks to the thirteen senior who turned up to help with the assessment.