Keith sensei undergoing examination for 5th Dan in front of BAA grading comittee - July 2022 - uke: Darragh Conroy.
Examined by B.Jones 8th Dan, R.Hartshorne 5th Dan, G.Baxter 5th Dan, P.Holding 4thDan, F.Burgess 4th Dan
The great thing about going for gradings/ competitions is that it motivates you to train harder and smarter.
On the build up to the grading I was reminded of how much more I have to learn and how little I understand about the martial art that I truly love. It is time for me to revisit everything that I think I know and it also my responsibility to deepen my understanding and technical knowledge/ application of techniques. I am looking forward to starting Aikido all over again as a 5th Dan beginner.
I have made so many friends since starting my Aikido journey twenty six years ago and I have learned so much from all of the people I have had the privilege to train with. I would like to thank our club members for their encouragement and support over the last few months. I owe a special mention to Darragh Conroy who travelled with me to uke for the majority of my 5th Dan demonstrations. Not only did he uke for me, he also helped uke for his brother, Eoghan, for his 2nd Dan examination on the same day.! Sincere thanks also to my partner Pamela Dempsey for her constant and consistent support in helping me work towards this goal.
Thank you to our coaches - Pam, Jer, Eoghan, Micheal as well as all of the Senior kyu grades that helped teach over the past few months so that I could prepare for my grading.
Finally thank you to all of the coaches/instructors that have helped to deepen my understanding, knowledge and application of techniques, kata & freeplay at different stages of my journey.
Last but not least, I would really like to thank Paul Bonett sensei for visiting us twice in Dublin over the past few months to help fine tune and teach me the Goshin Ho. Paul freely and selflessly shared his considerable knowledge with us. I just hope, he is happy with my demonstration on the day.
Keith McClean - July 2022
Keith sensei being presented with this BAA 5th Dan menjo (certificate) at the WSAF European Chamionships, London, July 2022
Paul Bonnet, Bob Jones, Keith, Vanda Fairchild