5 Dec 2023
Whilst this particular blog is all about the evolution of Black Belt training with Cardiff Martial Arts, I hope you’ll read it regardless of your current grade – after all, we hope to share your martial arts journey with you all the way to your Black Belt (and beyond!); and if you’re moving towards achieving that particular milestone in the near future you might be starting to ask yourself what comes next when you’ve achieved it!
With the 18th anniversary of Cardiff Martial Arts visible in the rear-view mirror (it was September for those who keep track of these things) it may seem long overdue that we are talking about growing the Black Belt community within Cardiff Martial Arts. The reality is that the opportunities for Black Belt training have always been evolving (I’ve been around long enough as a student with Cardiff Martial Arts, as have Mr Peake and Miss Moore, that we remember when the first weekly Black Belt classes were introduced and when the first monthly Black Belt classes started too).
For many years though, the only significant Black Belt presence within Cardiff Martial Arts was in Master McCabe’s and Miss Moore’s classes. But now things have changed, with both Mr Peake and myself moving towards our 10th anniversaries of running our own classes, and we’ve now got a good number of Black Belts regularly attending every venue we teach at.
And with that as the catalyst we’ve been looking at what we can do to offer more training options to our Black Belts and create a stronger sense of Black Belt community across the entire club.
Most of what follows is purely optional and, if it’s not for you, it’s not a problem! But if you are looking for a bit more, perhaps some of what follows might interest you.
Let’s get the mandatory stuff out of the way first…..
Nearly every month (we normally skip August as it’s the height of the holiday season) we run a Black Belt training session at Channel View Leisure Centre. As a Black Belt you are required to attend a minimum of 3 each year of these to progress towards your next Black Belt grading. These are joint sessions for both Kickboxing and Taekwon-do students, and a great place to mingle with Black Belts from across the club. These sessions are an opportunity to focus on honing your Black Belt syllabus work and, as this is where we carry out Black Belt pre-gradings, a must to see what’s expected of you if you want to be considered for your next Black Belt grading.
We’re excited that going forward we’re now going to be offering access to additional regular Black Belt training classes.
As a Black Belt with Cardiff Martial Arts you’ll already be attending weekly classes with your instructor. Some of you will be training once a week and some twice. But we’d like to give those who are interested the opportunity to explore additional options.
We’ve always felt that those attending the monthly Black Belt training have enjoyed the opportunity to partner with people who might train with a different instructor and it’s a great chance to socialise (whilst working hard!). And of course, you get input from other Cardiff Martial Arts instructors as well as your own instructor. These additional classes are designed to offer a similar experience to the monthly classes but on a more regular basis.
If you’re interested in the following classes please speak to your instructor, whether it’s as a regular extra class or something you’d like to be able to do on an ad hoc basis.
Firstly, and it’s something we hope to start offering in 2024, Miss Moore is planning a Kickboxing Black Belt class which will be open to kickboxing Black Belts from across all of our venues. We anticipate that this will be a weekday evening class and we’ll keep you notified of details about this class as they develop.
For Taekwon-do Black Belts we’re able to offer a 2-hour weekly class in Lisvane on a Wednesday (and if you train in Lisvane this is already your regular weekly Taekwon-do class). This class is open to Black Belts from other venues with immediate effect, so if you’d like to be able to attend this class in addition to your normal training please speak to your instructor.
If you’re a Black Belt in either Taekwon-do or Kickboxing you’ll be aware that we’re planning a Black Belt training weekend over the early May Bank Holiday in 2024. This is the first time we’ve tried something like this and we’re excited to see how it goes. And the intention is that, if it’s a success, it’s something we’ll keep doing. We’ve had a great response so far to this proposal. We can’t promise it will always be at Gregynog, but based on the feedback of those that attend next May’s edition we’ll look to refine and develop these sessions.
And as well as training it’s a great opportunity to spend time socialising with other Black Belts from across the club.
We know competing isn’t for everyone; and that’s absolutely fine. But competing at competitions isn’t the only way to get involved if you’re interested in being more involved.
Many of you will have been involved in umpiring / working as event staff at our very own Dragon Cup (the 2024 edition is in the calendar and we’ll be sharing more information with everyone as we move into 2024). But that’s not the only avenue open to you if you’d like to be more involved in supporting the club at competitions.
If you’re interested in developing as an umpire, please make sure you talk to your instructor and we’ll make sure you’re made aware of any umpiring courses we’re able to give access to, and of course we’ll make sure we let you know when other competitions are coming up so you can come along and get more experience. There are so many roles for umpires at competitions, and organisers are always after more umpires!, that you’ll always get to do a range of jobs and continue to gain experience. The more you do, the better you’ll get.
When we travel to competitions it’s often true that competitors are allowed to have coaches at ring side with them as they compete. One of the consequences of Master McCabe and the other instructors umpiring, is that we’re very rarely able to coach students during a competition.
However, perhaps that’s something you’d be interested in doing? Whether you’re a Black Belt in Kickboxing or Taekwon-do, and you’d like to know more about coaching please speak to your instructor.
I hope that you’ll see from this blog that being a Black Belt with Cardiff Martial Arts is whatever you want to make of it. If your regular weekly training is enough for you then that’s great. Keep training, keep enjoying it!
But if you would like a little bit more, no matter what aspect covered above interests you, then please do speak to your instructor.
Jon Draper V Degree