Philip gets his 5th Dan at the age of 61
Published at 21:35, Wednesday, 21 March 2012
LANGHOLM Shotokan karate club instructor Philip Gunn is celebrating after achieving his 5th Dan at the age of 61.
Philip, who owns the Art Corner Gallery in the High Street, was assessed by 8th Dan Kagawa Sensei, who is based in Japan.
The training session and assessment were carried out in Scotland’s only purpose-built honbu, which is in Dunfermline.
There are only five 5th Dans in JKS (Japan Karate Shoto-renmei) in Scotland and only one 6th Dan.
Philip said: “You should wait five years between 4th and 5th Dans but it’s been 14 years for me.
“I have taken all my grades with the most senior instructor Kagawa Sensei so I was quite keen to take my 5th Dan with him. He is world-renowned and was over from Japan doing courses in Dublin and England as well as in Scotland.
“By the time you get to your 5th or 6th Dan, you’re a lot older and you have to know your stuff technically. They involve both Kata and Kumite – you still have to be able to fight.”
The seminar is very gruelling, involving three hours of training before the grading is carried out, and, despite having a bit of knee trouble, Philip was successful.
He said: “What you lose as you get older is a bit of flexibility but experience can help you, especially when you’re fighting.”
On whether he will go for his 6th Dan, Philip said: “It depends. If I keep fit and keep training, you never know. I would be 67 but other people have done it.”
The Langholm club has a 3rd Dan in instructor George Wylie and several other members are preparing for Dan grades or for brown belts so the club is going strongly.
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