Eight students from Henshaws Specialist College have been awarded their 6th Kyu Red Belts in Judo during a presentation ceremony at the College’s Harrogate campus. Kyu means student and is the first stepping stone on the British Judo Grading Syllabus towards the coveted Black Belt.
This first stepping stone in Judo is a major achievement for each of the students involved as they have a range of disabilities and learning difficulties and have worked for six months to reach this level, gaining self-awareness and self-confidence through their first experience of a physical contact sport.
The presentation was made by Bev Bunyan, Black Belt 5th Dan and Head Coach at the York Railway Institute, and Dermot Heslop, Red and White Belt 7th Dan and Regional Delivery Officer for the British Judo Association.
Dermot, who has been leading the sessions, said: “We’ve learnt what works for each individual and have adapted techniques if necessary to meet their needs. This often involves working from the ground upwards, so students have learnt to throw from the knees first, instead of from a standing position. All the students should be very proud of what they’ve achieved in gaining their first belt!”
British Judo, the national governing body for the sport in the UK has funded the coaching sessions through the 2020 Vision Project, in conjunction with Sport England.
Vicky Little, College instructor said:
This is a huge achievement for our students, for many of whom it was a challenge even feeling comfortable enough to take their shoes off and work close to other students. It has given them something to work towards each week, and the increase in confidence we’ve seen throughout the course has been amazing.