SOUTH Tyneside’s all conquering Dokan Karate Club put on a real show when they staged their annual summer competition – and four of the young black belts went on to earn their second dan status.
The event was aimed at introducing new starters and low grades into the world of competitive karate and, in all, 107 youngsters entered the event.
The club has more than 150 youngsters training in Boldon, Whitburn and Sunderland.
The event, at the Castleview Centre, in Castletown, Sunderland, also featured a series of displays by club members.
Chief instructor, Kevan Mitchinson, said: “It was a great day. Every grade below green belt got a medal just for entering.
“This meant we had a lot of entries into the lower grade sections, which is really what this competition is all about.
“For me, the highlight of the day was the newcomers showing their parents their new skills.
“That said, it was also evident that you would not see a better standard of competition at the big external competitions we enter.”
The Dokan club has 12 world champions and 11 national and international championship winners.
Mr Mitchinson added: “The youngsters train extremely hard and diligently and have earned the rewards of that. Here at Dokan we create winners. None of them wants to lose.”
The day also featured a “battle of the genders” between 15 girls and 15 boys of similar stature and grade.
The girls won 13 to 2 – winning for the third time in a row.
Mr Mitchinson added: “You can’t put an event like this on without a lot of help. Many thanks to all the volunteers which made it possible.”
The event proved the perfect warm-up for four students who went on to earn second dan status.
Liam Mackell,16, Becky Purvis,13, Eleisha Mitchinson, 12, and Megan Purvis, 11, have now all moved up from being first dan black belts.
Liam started karate at Dokan at the age of eight and has trained regularly since.
Becky and Megan both started aged five and Eleisha started training at only four years old and all are regular competitors at karate tournaments.
Eleisha and Megan are both 2014 English national champions as well as 2014 international champions and both won world championship titles this year at Kosovo.
Mr Mitchinson added: “All four have shown a huge level of commitment.
“To put so many hours in for so many years means they have come to realise that karate is not just an hour a week messing about in a church hall, it is a way of life that requires a strength of character, courage and dedication.
Milly Pomfret and Simone Stewart, both aged 12, also earned their black belts.
Both girls hold English national titles and Simone is also a world title holder.
Mr Mitchinson added: “I have never been prouder of any dan grades at my clubs. They were exceptional.
For details about the club and training times, call Mr Mitchinson on 0793 913 0411 or go to www.dokan.co.uk