Adult Beginners Taster Session – Free

Handbridge Shotokan Karate Club is offering a free taster session for adults interested in taking up karate. The chief instructor is Sensei Mike O’Connor 7th Dan. He is one of only four 7th Dans in the KUGB and has been training for over 50 years. Mike is assisted by Sensei Dave Roberts 3rd Dan.
If you are interested, please contact Sensei Mike O’Connor on 01244 319303 or Sensei Dave Roberts on 07841 710989. Alternatively, you can just turn up on the night. Classes are 6pm-7pm every Monday and Thursday. Loose clothing such as jogging pants and tee shirts should be worn.


TRICK OR TREAT – Training and Grading on All Hallows Eve at HSKC

Report by Sensei Mike O’Connor 7th Dan HSKC’s Chief Club Instructor
Trick OR TREAT :   Yes it was possibly not the best night for a grading but it suited the majority of members and we were able to secure Hanshi Andy Sherry 9th Dan to both teach and to grade the members.
Again on the trick or treat theme we were all only going to train for one and a quarter hours which may have tricked some of the Black Belts into thinking it would be an easier session than our normal longer class time, but Hanshi Sherry had tricks galore in running virtually two seperate classes at the same time. The basics were ramped up through the grades but given an extra boost for the Black Belts, we could have done without the central
heating being on, which even with the windows open made this one HOT night.
Adding to the heat were our visitors, we were pleased to have Chris Luecke 4th Dan over from the famous Liverpool Red Triangle and Otto Blank 4th Dan Chief Club Instructor of Ataru Shotokan Karate. Their presence helped lift the senior section to train even harder especially in the Kumite section of the class.
Towards the second part of the session after Kihon was done to screaming Kiai It was then Kumite and Kata for everyone. Whilst the Kyu grades started with standard Gohon (Five  step sparring) the seniors performing Five Step with a difference Tori (Attacker) sambon attacks to Uki (defender) triple blocks and triple counters on every step.
As the Kyu grades moved on to one attack Fixed ippon Kumite the seniors did their Five Step Sanbon attacks now in a ju Kumite (free style) manner. “Just one more time,with spirit” seamed to be said very often by Hanshi Sherry but it did the trick as it had everyone steamed up with karate spirit. Is this how Kyoshi Frank Brennan got this phrase??
The Kata for the seniors was Tekki Sandan with arduous attention to detail. The Kyu grades did their grading Kata again with Hanshi polishing their skills resulting in a 100% FULL PASS for every one of our members taking their grading.
Some members had to think of families on this All Hallows night of fun but I think those who came to the dojo got the real treats of the night. Great training and Wonderful grading result, even Hanshi Sherry was very cheerful at the result.
PS. 1.  Some junior members are not present in the group photo as that has been their    parents wishes to not be on the internet.
       2. Hanshi Sherry reports that Kyoshi Frank Brennan is recovering from his hip operation and walking unaided which is fantastic news. We all look forward to training with Kyoshi Frank on the 30th november at Egham.

Grading Results – 31 October 2019

Congratulations to the following students who successfully graded under Sensei Sherry on 31 October 2019. Everyone put in a very strong and spirited performance and all Handbridge students gained a full pass:-

9th Kyu – Orange Belt
Stefanie Mitze-Unlüer

Jason Chen

Kimberley Chen

6th Kyu – Green Belt

Jake Nieri

5th Kyu – Purple Belt

Sarah Reynolds

Lydia Stent

A big thank you to our guests from Ataru and Red Triangle for attending and congratulations to Wayne Williams from Ataru on grading to 2nd Kyu, temporary.

This was another excellent session from Sensei Sherry working on detail, speed and kime. Make sure you all take note of Sensei’s comments and take these into your next sessions.
New katas to learn now so a lot of concentration will be necessary!!

Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan – Training and Kyu Grading session


Please do your utmost to attend the grading session on Thu 31 Oct even if you are not grading. There will be one training session for all starting at 6pm sharp and finishing around 7:15pm. 

The grading will follow from 7:15 onwards. 

Prices will be usual club prices i.e. £4 juniors, students and unemployed, £5 seniors. Usual family discounts will apply. 

Members from other KUGB clubs are encouraged to attend. 

Let’s make this a session to remember. 

Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan – Training and Kyu grading

Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan and Chief Instructor to the KUGB will be visiting Handbridge dojo on Thursday 31 Oct 2019.
There will be one training session for all grades commencing 6pm sharp until approx. 7:15pm. The Kyu grading will follow directly after the training session. The cost to grade is £10 which goes directly to Sensei Sherry. Training costs will be normal prices.
Please ensure you arrive at least 20mins before training starts and have your licences and record book ready so you can be booked in.
Any KUGB members from other clubs are very welcome to attend.

Some benefits of Karate

Not only is Karate a great activity that keeps students physically active, but it also instills a sense of achievement as you work your way up through the coloured belts and on to black belt. Even if you have no previous experience in Karate, it is a great physical activity for children and adults from age 5 upwards. Our Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry 9thDan, has been training for over 60 years and, at 76 years old in 2019, is still as passionate and able as he was many years ago.

  • Total body workout: Karate is a high-aerobic workout that uses every muscle group in the body. Stamina, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and strength will all improve through Karate.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Due to the total-body nature of a Karate workout, hundreds of calories are burned during every session.
  • Self-confidence: The greatest benefit usually reported by Karate students is greater self-confidence, especially in youngsters and those on the spectrum. Students become more comfortable in all situations.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: The only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart, such as Karate.
  • Weight loss: A one hour session of moderate intensity Karate can burn up to many hundreds of calories.
  • Improved reflexes: By participating in Karate, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times during all activities of your life. This is very important in a number of daily activities, such as driving.
  • Teaches great morals and values: Karate wisdom has it that after consistent practice, one becomes less impulsive and aggressive towards others.
  • Muscle tone: Regular Karate practice can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass you have in your body. The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be, and subsequently the more calories you will burn each day, thereby helping prevent obesity and promote weight loss. High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility, thereby preventing falls as you age.
  • Better mood: Researchers have found that participating in a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to improve your mood. Performing Karate is not only a good way to relieve stress and frustration, but may actually help to make you happier. The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.

KUGB Grading System

Grading is a system whereby students can monitor their progress by undergoing examinations to progress to the next belt. KUGB Karateka will be eligible to grade providing they have fulfilled all technical requirements, hold a current KUGB licence and record book and have permission to grade from their senior club instructor, Sensei Michael O’Connor, 7thDan.

All HSKC gradings are held at Queens Park High School, Handbridge by the KUGB Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry 9thDan.

Students must train on average twice per week at a KUGB dojo, with an approved KUGB instructor.

Students who have demonstrated the required standard are awarded a coloured belt to denote their grade. Coloured Belt grades are known as Kyu grades and range from 9thKyu – White Belt to 1stKyu – Brown Belt with two white stripes. Students training at least twice per week and achieving the necessary level, may grade every 3 months up to 1stKyu.

Once 1stKyu is achieved, students must wait a further 6 months before being eligible to take Shodan (first level Black Belt). You should consult the senior club instructors to see if you are ready to grade. Not all students progress at the same rate, so it is important to grade only when you are ready. It is not uncommon for students to miss a grade.

Irrespective of skill or confidence levels, all students must have completed at least 26 hours training since their last grading in order to qualify for the next grading (16 hours in order to take their first grading).

Novices may grade after two months of training.

There must be a minimum of three monthly intervals between each grading from 9th Kyu to 1st Kyu.

It is possible for exceptional students to be graded directly to 8th Kyu, but this is at the discretion of the grading examiner.

A student may receive a ‘Temporary’ grade, which means that they are not quite up to the required standard. They will however wear the same coloured belt and train on the same syllabus as if they were a full grade.

Students who fail a Kyu grading may re-take their examination after three months.

The examiner may ask to see some or all of the Kihon, Kata and Kumite listed in the KUGB Syllabus. Candidates may be required to demonstrate material from previous gradings to ensure overall development – a brown belt for example may be asked to perform a Heian Kata.

Allowance will be made for candidates who are unable to perform certain techniques due to physical or other restrictions.

It must be emphasised that the KUGB Syllabus is intended as a guideline to prepare students for their gradings and that the most important factor is the examinee’s quality of performance.

New Starters


We are always looking for new starters who have never done karate before or those who may have had some exposure to martial arts of different styles.

There are many benefits of studying karate whether you just want to get fit, meet people, would like to compete or are interested in more traditional budo, then karate is for you.

Our club instructor is Sensei Michael O’Connor 7th Dan KUGB who has been training for over 50 years. He is currently one of only four 7th Dans within the KUGB and has an unbelievable wealth of knowledge.

Sensei O’Connor is assisted by Sensei Dave Roberts 3rd Dan KUGB

Some of the benefits include (but are not limited to):-

  • Improves focus and discipline in children
  • Improves decision making
  • Helps to achieve goals
  • Positive effects for children on the spectrum
  • Teaches Self-protection
  • Helps reduce weight
  • Helps to relieve Stress
  • Improves overall fitness levels

After 2 months of regular training (at least twice per week), most students are ready to take their first grading. There is a system of belts ranging from White (beginner) to Black (advanced). Once the first level Black Belt is achieved, there are nine more levels of Black Belt (up to 10th Dan – Judan)

Our Chief Instructor and grading examiner, Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan has been training for over 60 years, so you can see how long it takes to get to the higher levels. First level Black Belt (Shodan) can be achieved in around 3.5 – 4 years of regular training.

All Kyu gradings (those below black belt) are conducted at Queens Park High School i.e. the same place you will be training. These are conducted 3-4 times a year and students who have been training diligently can expect to grade every 3 months.

In order to train and grade, students require a licence which can be obtained by visiting the KUGB website and following instructions. Alternatively, see your instructor who can assist you with this. The licence also provides insurance cover.

Prices are £4 juniors, students and unemployed, £5 adults and there are special rates for families.



Coming back to Karate

If you have trained in karate before and had a break for whatever reason, this is an ideal opportunity to come back and continue your karate journey.

Sensei Michael O’Connor 7th Dan KUGB has instructed seniors who have had 30 year breaks from karate and has guided them from Brown Belt up to 3rd Dan on at least 3 occasions in the last 10 years and has helped many more juniors and seniors achieve Shodan or higher.

There is no need to be nervous. We can introduce you slowly back into the syllabus. You can wear your belt relating to your current grade the last time you trained, or if you wish, you can wear a white belt until such time you feel confident enough to wear your normal belt. There is no pressure. We have had many karateka come back saying they wished they had never given up.

We also welcome people from different styles of karate.

Look forward to seeing you in the dojo soon.

Sensei Dave Roberts 3rd Dan KUGB