New Irish Black Belt Graduates

The International Kenpo Karate Academy held a Black & Brown Belt grading at its Celbridge headquarters on Friday 19th September 2003.  The board of examiners at the test was Professor John Sepulveda 8th Degree and Professor Edward Downey 6th Degree, John Burgess 4th Degree, Anthony Taylor 4th Degree and Richard Burgess 4th Degree.

Candidates for the test travelled from Limerick, Galway, Wexford, Kildare, Offaly, Westmeath, Laois and Dublin. Students testing for black belt were required to prepare a written black belt thesis to qualify for the test.  The black belt test itself consisted of a rigorous physical examination in Kenpo basics that included blocking, kicking, punching and foot manoeuvres.  The candidates then had to perform all the required forms and sets of the Kenpo system followed by a Kenpo self-defence technique line which involved constantly changing attacks being delivered by a variety of opponent’s from various angles.  The attack sequences included grabs, pushes, punches, chokes, locks, weapons and various kicking techniques.  Each candidate for testing had to decisively handle each attack in the prescribed manner and be able to adjust his or her response to any variables that occurred. The final part of the test was free-style sparring for each of candidates who had to defend themselves against single and double attackers. 

The testing board was very pleased with the standard and quality of the candidates and was particularly impressed with David Byrne, Darren Mahony and Hugh Johnston all of whom successfully achieved their 2nd degree black belts.  History was made at the test when Galway Kenpo instructor James Dillon was awarded his 1st Degree Black Belt, Mr. Dillon is the first west of Ireland based Kenpo student to achieve this grade. Athlone based Kenpo student Ryan Fitzgerald successfully completed his black test with honours after seven years of hard work and commitment to the style. Aisling Byrne a 16-year-old Celbridge assistant instructor gave an outstanding display of skill and ability to achieve her junior black belt. Aisling started her Kenpo training in Celbridge 11 years ago at five years of age and is a great credit to her family and an excellent black belt. The test also included a number of students testing for senior brown belt degrees, these were; Derek Newsome, Stephen McKeon and Donal Kavangh who all successfully tested for their 1st Kyu brown belts and Darren Harold achieved his 2nd Kyu brown belt.  Limerick based Declan Lee who travels three times weekly from Limerick to attend Kenpo classes in Celbridge was awarded his 3rd Kyu brown belt. Enniscorthy Kenpo club students Anne O’Gormam and Cathy Quirke were also awarded 3rd Kyu brown belts; the two ladies are the first students from the Enniscorthy Kenpo club to reach this significant belt rank.  Professor Downey was extremely proud of his student’s achievements and is looking forward to helping many more of his students achieve the same goal.    The test was a culmination of years of diligent training and study by the E.K.K.A. students under the direction of their European Kenpo director Professor Downey and his assistant instructors John and Richard Burgess.   The new black belts will significantly increase the number of teaching black belts available to the association and will insure the continued success of the junior and adult members in their studies of self-defence skills. The evening prior to the test Professor Sepulveda conducted a seminar which was very well received by the attending Kenpo students and after the seminar Edward Downey presented Professor Sepulveda with a carved sculpture made from a 7000 year old piece of bog oak in recognition of his forty years in the Kenpo system.