Congratulations to First Year student Torin Strathearn who was recently awarded his 2nd Degree (EE Dan) black belt in Choi Kwang Do, after a grueling 2.5-hour grading session. 

Choi Kwong Do is a modern, scientific martial art which relies more on flexibility and fluidity of movement. Torin has been training in the art since he was three, and is only the second young person at his martial art school to achieve his EE Dan (the first being his brother).   

Here, Torin tells us about the practice of Choi Kwang Do and his grading: 

“I have been training since I was three years old, and usually train twice a week. I sometimes help teach younger students too. I really enjoy being able to slowly develop my techniques to make them better but also being able to help others progress further with their own learning.   

“There are six principles of Choi Kwang Do which are: Humility, Integrity, Gentleness, Perseverance, Self-Control and Unbreakable Spirit. I am inspired by all of these principles and try to follow them in my daily life as well as while I am in class. 

“The grading for my EE Dan was very tiring! It helped to have my family and other black belts there to support me. I had to go through all the colour belt and IL Dan punches and kicks on both sides. I also had to do the blocks for each belt for instance: Outward block, Double Forearm block and Openhand Inward Block. I then had to do all the patterns from White Belt to Black Belt Brown Tag Senior. In total, this was 72 patterns. By that point, I was just about halfway through! 

“After a short break, I came back onto the Dojang floor to do the Colour Belt Offence Drills. These were not too bad as they are created to be a slow movement drill. There were only 36 Offence Drills to do. Following that, I went into the IL Dan Speed Drills. With these, I had to do the techniques as fast and as accurate as possible. In total of Offence Drills and Speed Drills, I did 62 rounds. 

“After completing all the technical parts of the grading, I moved on to Application Drills. These were separate drills that prepare you for different types of attack. Later, in the drills, I did some two on one which is where two people continuously attack me and I must block and try to be in the best position to defend myself. Finally, I had to do shield drills. With this, I also had to do one on one and then two on one. With that, the grading was over. I was given my second black belt and to celebrate, there was a Victoria sponge and chocolate cake! 

“I feel very proud of myself to get to this stage in my martial arts as only about 3-5% of martial artists receive their first black belt and only 1% of those people receive their EE Dan. The next grading will be my gold tag for my EE Dan belt but my next big grading will hopefully be in three years’ time and that will be my 3rd Dan grading. When I am older, I hope to become an instructor and teach classes at my local Dojang. 

“Choi Kwang Do gives me confidence as I am usually the youngest and one of the most senior students in class and most of the other black belts are adults. It is also a good way to keep fit and to exercise my memory.” 

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