Liam Brown 2nd Dan preparation

Preparation for 2nd Dan (Nidan)

In the middle of a training session Sensei Merv quietly asked me if I would like to write a few words about my preparation for my Second Dan Grading. At first I wasn't to keen, mainly because I had a lot of other things on. However I then started to think that Sensei Merv doesn't usually ask for the obvious but does like to get his students thinking for themselves, or as he often say's "outside of the box". Having now written the following I can see that he wanted me to do a bit of self analysis. It certainly worked.

 double attack and blocking


I didn't really remember much about the grading for Shodan, nor the preparation. Only when I entered the dojo to take the grading exam for my Nidan did it all come back to me. I was so nervous it was unbelievable, but tried not to show it. Of course I remember the preparation for Nidan and it was intense.

Training 2 times a week is the minimal training pattern that SEKU enforce on the Senseis everywhere if their student is planning to go for a black belt Dan grading. So I was there, at the club training every Wednesday and Friday. I will always train hard at any time the word Karate is mentioned. I believe that if you want to improve you must train like you mean it, every time you enter your dojo and do your first bow.

Demonstration at the club junior competition


When I received my Shodan I was in Year 7 and about to turn 12 years old. I believe  that at that age, trying to get something that most people can only dream about was awesome. I'm now in Year 9 and 14 years old. It was perfect timing, me getting my Shodan at 12 because then 2 years later if ready, and at a high standard of karate, I could go for my Nidan.

I think that now getting my Nidan before my GCSE courses start to commence it will be tremendous relief off of my shoulders. This though, doesn't mean that when I enter the dojo I wont train as hard. I'm there for a purpose and only to train. It's nice to see people at the dojo but you are there to train. Not anything else.

Leading up to my grading, around 3 months beforehand, I always used to stretch before the sessions, but I was advised by Sensei Merv to practice the Kata's I would maybe have to perform on the day of my grading. This really helped in remembering the Kata's because with so many other things happening in the dojo you will be surprised at how you can forget them. Sensei always says that you go to the dojo to do karate so what better way to warm up than doing karate!

Chinte Kata on Holland course - Easter 2012


I've already said about the preparation requirements for Nidan gradings but not really the attitude about how you train. You must train every session like it's the grading. That way if you can make yourself believe you are grading every session, when it comes to the grading you may well feel more relaxed about it. There's no messing around in the dojo. If there is, the person responsible is just ruining it for others by being stupid. Don't ruin someone else's chances of doing well because you think that you are too cool or good to be doing karate.

 Practicing Ushiro mawashi - geri on Holland course


The grading itself is hard. I didn't really remember much from my Shodan grading but as soon as the experience springs upon you on the next grading you remember how hard it is and the training which you believe is good enough, to help you pass the grading. Having various members of the dojo helping to inspire you is tremendous. Sensei was a massive help guiding me through each lesson one at a time and support from certain family members and friends made me believe it was possible. Don't go into the grading thinking you are going to fail because you might well do. Your Sensei will not send you into the grading exam if he thinks you have the slightest chance of failing. Just go into the dojo, with a mindset of unleashing all stress and anger inside you. Use the nerves inside you, to power you, like the fuel which is inside a car.

Liam receiving his Diploma in the junior class - in which he helps with the instruction.

A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist. The real part of being a black belt is your inner strength and positive attitude to every thing.  Being a black belt is a state of mind, attitude and belief. But remember karate begins and ends with respect.
Liam Brown - Nidan

Karate Day time lessons

Daytime Karate lessons are now being held on Thursday mornings at the Castle St, Portchester,  Day Centre. For further information please ring 07713284430 or email

These classes are for a range of people with varying abilities and in particular for the older and fairly active person that would like to benefit from the health aspects of practicing Karate and at the same time exercising their minds in the learning of new skills.

Existing students of Karate are also catered for in the lessons. In particular those on shift work and others that cannot get to their regular training lessons.

Further information

For the Portchester Karate Club and clubs in other areas or different training times, please email or telephone 07713284430.

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