NSB Student achieves Black Belt in Swordsmanship
Y9 student Robert Allen has recently been awarded his 'shodan' (1st Dan black belt) in 'Iaido' (japanese swordsmanship).
He was awarded this by the British Kendo Association following a weekend seminar in Darlington during half-term. The BKA does not award junior grades, so Robert's belt was awarded on the same terms as the adults at the same grading, with no concessions for age.
The gradings are performed in front of around 200 people and a panel of 7 high grade (6th Dan and above) judges, a process which many adults find intimidating.
There is a minimum age requirement of 14 years for taking 1st dan: Robert was 14 years and 6 weeks old at the time of his grading and is possibly the youngest shodan in Iaido in the country.