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Harrogate Martial Artists Awarded Elite “Master Grade” Belts

Two members of a Harrogate martial arts club have joined an elite band by successfully achieving Master Grade level in Kong Sudo, a Korean form of karate.

Tariq Malik (left) and Ray Smith (right), who have been training with Johnson’s Family Karate since the club started ten years ago, take the number of Kong Sudo 4th Dans in the UK to just 14!

To achieve this level, an individual has to be skilled in more than 30 forms – or katas; know in excess of 60 set self-defence techniques against an attacking partner, and demonstrate a high level of physical fitness.

During a gruelling grading session, overseen by chief instructor and 6th Dan, Master Tony Johnson, Ray and Tariq defended themselves against armed and unarmed attackers, broke wooden boards with their fists, performed a number of complicated forms and spared against one, two and three opponents at a time.

Johnson’s Family Karate senior instructor and 5th Dan, Master Janet McKenna, said: “Reaching Master Grade is by no means easy. It takes a great deal of skill, commitment and mental and physical fitness.

“In addition to training at least three times a week, the pair are accomplished instructors in their own right who are well liked and respected by their peers.”

Nationally, there are just under 1,000 Johnson’s Kong Sudo students, with more than 600 in Yorkshire alone. Janet, one of only three Kong Sudo 5th Dans in the country, runs in excess of 600 classes a month, which are held in venues in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Wetherby, Collingham, Leeds, Tadcaster and Wetherby.

Janet added: “Our approach is very much family orientated, and this has led to us becoming one of the most popular martial arts clubs in the region. Our oldest member is nearing 70 years of age whilst our youngest is just five.”

Further details about Johnson Family Karate classes are available by contacting Janet McKenna on 0113 815 1192 or by visiting the website at


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