The clock is ticking to my 5th dan grading: Success!

I’m very proud to say that Sensei Salur Onural and I were awarded the rank of 5th Dan in Ju Jitsu by Kyoshi Mike Johnson, 8th Dan. I can honestly say that I’m honoured and humbled to have achieved this grade. It takes a minimum of 15 years to get from 1st to 5th Dan and that obviously means that there are very few who achieve this and higher grades. In my case it’s been 19 years since I achieved Shodan. As Kyoshi Mike said when awarding this rank to Sensei Salur and I, we may have got the award without going through a formal grading just for services to Budo but we instead chose to grade for it. As mentioned before in this blog series there are many reasons we chose not to go down this route. The main reason we did was that we wanted to show our students that we train just as hard if not harder than we ask them to when we’re about to take a test. The feedback we got from our students after the event led me to believe that we acheived that aim.

In addition Sensei Spencer Riley achieved the rank of 3rd Dan. I thought his grading was exemplary and Sensei Salur and I were very proud to be a part of it. Sensei Spencer had already practised Ju Jitsu for many years before his move to London and was extremely good when he arrived so we can’t take too much credit for how good he is. We are proud however that he chose London Ju Jitsu to continue his training for the last 8 years or so and of our contribution to his development.

So what next? It will of course be at least 6 years before Sensei Salur and I are eligable for 6th Dan so how do I keep motivated? One thing I do know is that I wish to continue to practice and teach Ju Jitsu until it’s physically impossible for me to do so and I hope that will be for many years yet! In previous blogs I’ve talked a lot about how much I’ve learned from teaching and how much my technique has improved by passing on my knowledge. One thing I haven’t touched on so much is that the Ju Jitsu club is like a family and for the time that the students are members they are like family members and best friends all rolled into one. We seem to be lucky in Ju Jitsu as we generally attract really nice, intelligent, well rounded people with only a slight touch of insanity. To be able to have met and had some influence on such a large number of inspirational people is much more of an honour than the number of tabs on or colour my belt. The motivation therefore comes from the students and Dan grades at the club and, even after all these years, there is never a night I wish that I was doing something else!

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