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BLACK BELT JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
01 December 2019 8:46 am
Bristol Karate Academy's newest black belt, Tom Woodward, shakes hands with Sensei Andy Sherry.
Despite struggling through injury in the final section of his grading, Tom Woodward of Bristol Karate Academy showed that he was well worth his black belt in Surrey on Saturday.
Tom – a doctor by trade – started his grading injury-free and sailed through the opening part of the black belt exam, demonstrating brilliant basics and precision movement in his Kata. It was in his sparring though that he caught everyone’s attention, with a reverse roundhouse kick that one instructor called “the kick of the grading”. Fine praise indeed.
The final part of the grading takes place after all examinees have been up, which means Tom had a chance to rest and get his head straight, ready for the final push. Up until this point, Tom had gotten through the grading injury-free. But it was during the rest period – in the most innocuous of circumstances – that injury struck. During some stretching, his knee suddenly gave up, causing him considerable discomfort. But with only a single kata (set combination of movements) between him and his black belt Tom battled through a final ‘Heian’ kata performance – and the rest is history.
Tom was attempting his black belt exam under the Karate Union of Great Britain’s Chairman Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) and former WSKA World Champion Sensei Frank Brennan (8th Dan).
He started Karate in Manchester but after moving to Bristol as a brown belt Tom joined Bristol Karate Academy to take his final step to the most famous of Karate ranks.
Since joining in January this year his Karate technique has transformed. His punches are cleaner, he shows better body use and his Kata has improved vastly. Notably, his Kumite (sparring) - which was already looking good - is now a real asset to him, with the Academy coaches all looking forward to seeing him perform in tournaments for the first time in 2020.
Head coach Tim Griffiths said, “Tom has put a lot into his preparation for black belt and we’re delighted to see his growth and improvement over the last year. He’s made a great impression on all of the instructors with his effort and determination over 2019 and I was delighted to watch from the side lines on Saturday as he was rewarded for his hard work.
“Tom now needs to take a few weeks out for rest and rehabilitation to get over his knee injury, but when he comes back we’re expecting to see a new confidence in his Karate. 2020 has the potential to be another fantastic year for Tom and we’re looking forward to continuing to support him in his Karate journey.”
Congratulations, Tom, on an excellent first year with Bristol Karate Academy!