Watching the highest ranked Kenpo black belt in the UK has motivated me for my own progress  

I’m Carl. I am a brand support executive at insure4sport and I have recently taken up ‘Kenpo – the beautiful but brutal art’ and write here about my progress through the Kenpo belt grading system.

Last week I returned to my Kenpo sessions, following several weeks away after a long layoff due to surgery. When I walked in I was stumped and shocked as I was blessed with the presence of my sensei’s teacher and Uncle, Shihan Pete Conoghan, who is 9th Degree Dan Black Belt and the highest ranked Kenpo black belt in the UK. You could tell he was vastly superior straight away as he was wearing a black gown uniform instead of a usual GI (gown).

We trained as usual but broke up sessions to witness elements of the grading. He did the 1st form Kata (grading guidelines) I did and still do when grading and I never understood the reasons for the kata until now. As he did the Kata he was hit fiercely with a large wooden (filled not hollow) piece of bamboo and he succeeded in remaining in posture throughout utilising his breathing. After he had completed this twice he was then mass attacked, (attacked at numerous angles by several people) both with and without weapons whilst the sensei (teacher) blind folded him. After being spun around 10 times he was then released and had to defend himself.

This whole thing gave me an insight into the techniques and the theory behind Kenpo. It was awesome yet frightening to watch. It helped me understand so much about the theory behind Kenpo and applying theory in real time situations. It has made me realise how the theory can make a huge difference in outside dojo (practice venue) scenarios. After this session I was so proud to have the honour of sharing the dojo with my sensei.  To have the pleasure of his time and presence every time I train is much more appreciated now I have sat through that particular grading.

My grading will happen soon, I am very confident of that. I am very much looking forward to telling the tale of how it happened in the not too distant future.

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