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Devoted 14 Year Old Becomes Clubs Youngest Karate Blackbelt!

October 4, 2021

Finn Edwards of Sennen Karate Club has joined an elite club of blackbelts after impressing Cornwall Head Coach with an assured performance at a recent grading.

Finn who has been training at Sennen for just over 7 years has always shown he has the right attitude and work ethic to succeed, not just at karate but in anything he puts his mind too.  From a young age Finn has always paid attention in class, listening and absorbing all information relayed to him which has seen him improve at a rapid rate, spurred on with the goal of earning his karate blackbelt. Finn’s willingness to learn and help out lead to him being promoted to a junior instructor a few years back and is now a vital part of the club helping the younger students with all aspects of their karate training. 

Finn has shown incredible maturity and loyalty for someone of his age and is very trustworthy. Finn has recently started to take on a greater role with-in the club each week, helping get everything set-up for class to running the admin side of of the club and earning the responsibility of booking students into class and taking payments where necessary. This has personally taken a huge weight off my hands and allowed me to focus on the teaching element of the club, which i am truly grateful to Finn for.

Finn’s attendance over the past 7 years has been incredible, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say he’s only missed a handful of classes over that time. Finn currently trains for 4 hours every Friday evening helping run the junior classes in the process.

Road To His Karate Blackbelt

The months leading up to Finn taking his karate blackbelt saw him pay great attention to detail to hone his skills and focus on improving his weaknesses. Under the watchful eyes of club Instructors Denzil Searle and Myself (Luke Jackson) Finn practised week after week ensuring he was as ready for his karate blackbelt grading as humanly possible.

His knowledge of the style and of the mechanics of the techniques has really improved and gives me great confidence that when he is teaching the younger students he is teaching them correctly and has the knowledge to explain to them how, when and why certain techniques are used.

The Grading

The grading took place over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd October 2021 and it was an unusual affair. Unusual because for the first time in my karate training our Chief (Derek Collins) and Deputy Chief (Elaine Jaycock) along with their students we unable to attend, due to issues out of their control, so sadly we had no representatives from Oxford this time.

The task of leading the grading in Derek’s absence was taken on by Cornwall Area Head Coach and 7th Dan Blackbelt Clive Double who was assisted by Sennen Instructor and 4th Dan Blackbelt Luke Jackson and Marazion Club instructors Denzil Searle (4th Dan Blackbelt) and Paul Broocks (2nd Dan Blackbelt).

The grading spanned across 7 hours with Finn having to perform all the techniques up to blackbelt to a high standard, and as usual making sure all the lower grade techniques were as near perfect as possible. Like with all our gradings it’s not just the techniques for the grade you are going for that you need to know and be able to perform well, but all the other techniques that have been learnt from white belt need to be performed to a really high standard too. Especially at blackbelt, your unlikely to fail your grading if you did a single blackbelt technique badly but if you were unable to perform a yellow belt technique correctly for example then you may be in trouble!

Finn started the grading strong and continued throughout Saturday morning, though when it came to lunch time Finn didn’t have the opportunity to rest as he had a written exam to do. This covered everything relating to our style and its history, diet and nutrition, the human body and first aid. Finn has been busy revising for this over the weeks and has done several mock papers to get himself ready. After lunch Finn continued to impress with the standard of his techniques and was putting on a strong showing.

Day two saw a lot of the focus turn to kata (Often referred to as a form of choreographed patterns of movement focusing on correct forms and postures in order to perfect the technique and fluidity of motion a karateka has), with Finn and the other students having to showcase each of the katas up to their grade, often as a group but occasionally having to stand in front of the group alone and perform a specific kata. This didn’t phase Finn at all and he sailed through without any real problems. The rest of the morning saw some pad work and more basics.


At the end of the grading Clive explained to Finn and the other students how they had done, giving them feedback on what impressed him with their performance and what they needed to improve upon. It was then Clive informed Finn that he had passed his grading and written paper and was now a Junior blackbelt to the delight of Finn and his club instructors! Finn was presented with his belt and had several photos taken with club instructors and his family. A proud moment for everyone involved!

I would also like to personally congratulate Finn on his success on becoming the youngest member of the club to receive their blackbelt, a superb achievement and one he should be really proud of!! I would also like to thank Clive and Lesley for everything they did over the weekend by proving the food for the grading and inviting us round for a fab evening on Saturday night.

I would also personally like to thank our Chief Derek Collins who despite not being able to attend gave his blessing for Clive to award me my 5th Dan, something that came as a huge surprise to me but one i really appreciate. 

We finished up with a traditional get together at the local pub for lunch and a few drinks, a great way to finish off the weekend.