IT WAS girl power as 16-year-olds Hannah Gilrane and Lucy Butler became 1st Dan Black Belts after nine years of tough training.
The pair have been at the Kuon Ji Ju-Jitsu club in Oswaldtwistle since they were seven- years-old and the duo executed over 200 throwing techniques, defences from knife attacks and demonstration of weapons in a strenuous grading. They also had to get through several bouts of contact sparring, some randori (judo work) and submission groundwork fighting.
Head Coach at Oswaldtwistle Max Robinson said: “The girls were brilliant. They have trained hard over nine years for this and were determinded to pass and it showed.
“These are the first female Senior Dan Grades that we have had from Oswaldtwistle club that have come up right through the ranks and it really is a special achievement.”
Young Kuon Ji Ju-Jitsu member Jacob Myles, who is based at the Clayton Club, also showed how it is done. He earned his Junior Black Belt after training every week for six years. He showed off a wide range of different techniques, up against much bigger opponents, but this did not put him off.
His club Sensei Scott Gregson said: “It does take a great deal of commitment and dedication especially for the juniors as there is usually so much else going on for them but Jason did a superb grading.”
And Sensei Mick Dowling, also from the association’s Clayton club, achieved his 2nd Dan Black Belt. He had to display not only the ju-jitsu techniques he has learned over the last ten years but also several demonstrations of various weapons. He was also put through his paces with full contact sparring, randori and submission fighting.
Sensei Gregson continued: “Mick was absolutely shattered at the end. He assists as an instructor at our Clayton club, the students of which will benefit from his experience.”
The grading panel was made up of top instructors and Head Coach of the Kuon Ji Ju-Jitsu Association, Tony Gregson added: “It would take a novice student at Kuon Ji more than seven years of continuous training to be eligible to take his or her Black Belt.
“So you can see how much dedication, committment and enthusiasm is needed and that is why we hold it in such high esteem.”
Kuon Ji Ju-Jitsu Association has over 200 members and runs clubs at the Library building in Clayton-le-Moors, West End Community Centre in Oswaldtwistle, Moorhead Sports College in Accrington and The Dunkenhalgh Leisure Centre.