2023 finished on a high with 6 (Yup 6!) successful promotions…
Another marvellous celebration of Aikido just before the break with members turning out in force to support friends that stepped up to grade…
Andy King (5th Dan) and Gudrun Rieck (4th Dan) battled wintry conditions to travel down from Anglesey and oversee proceedings.
With everyone in place a good half an hour before formal start time, Andy & Gudrun took the opportunity to get to know each of the candidates in turn with some relaxed one to one practice; setting the tone for a helpful and conducive morning of training.
In the pre-grading class that followed Andy emphasised posture, flow, and flexibility in techniques, as always, demonstrating enviable ukemi (we all need to do ukemi like Andy!)
Nick (4th Dan) and Graham (4th Dan) joined Andy and Gudrun to form the Grading Committee and the applicants came together in 3 well-matched pairs – Mayela and Grace (targeting 5th Kyu) Gemma and Marco (4th), Baha (3rd) and Pawel (2nd).
As the pace and complexity of techniques called out increased, the lower grades moved off the mat leaving Pawel as last man standing to complete the somewhat gruelling challenge; a full-on test of technical competence and physical fitness. With all gradees returning to the mat to finish with Suwari-waza Kokyu-ho the event was complete.
Of course all achieved their goals having been well prepared by Graham and Chris and, per tradition, the class finished with celebratory coffee and buns in the Sports Centre café!
Congratulations to those who put themselves through the grading and thanks to all who attended. Events likes these are all part of making the Oxford dojo a fun & challenging place to train 👍