Luton Karate Grading

Annual News Letter 2017

As another year is rapidly coming to a close and 2018 looms ever closer, 2017 has been a very challenging year for the club.


This year has been a tough one for our dojo as we have had a number of high grades out due to injuries and personal/work/academic commitments which has meant that the lessons have been smaller than they used to be. However, I am confident that the normal levels of attendance will return in 2018, for this reason we have unfortunately had to cancel the Shihan Spanton 9th Dan visit to our dojo this year. The club will still have guest instructor Steve Reynolds to do his annual Muay Thai Boxing / Body Guarding Seminar..


April we had a grading in which 9 candidates were attempting their next belts and were put through a grueling and taxing exam. All of the grading candidates succeeded in gaining their promotions and they will all tell you that it’s extremely hard work but totally rewarding. Full write up and pictures.


May was the club’s annual trip to North Wales – Ogwen Bank Course with Shihan Spanton 9th Dan; this was attended by me, Sensei Archer and Sensei Mills from the Luton Dojo. It was run mainly by the senior grades this year with Shihan Spanton arriving the latter part of the week. Full write up and pictures. If you fancy attending this course next year, we start looking at bookings/deposits for the end of January. We have to book this early since the course is now being run at the end of May which is during half term and the caravans/lodges get booked up very quickly.


June through to August I was unable to teach or train due to having a car accident which caused me to have severe whiplash. I have now thankfully recovered and am back in the dojo as normal (I am sure a few people’s bodies are already aware of this). Whilst I was out of the loop the Black Belt team ran the club seamlessly which gave me the time I needed to recover and get my fitness back to a reasonable level after being unable to any kind of training for a number months. So my heartfelt thanks go to Black Belt Coaching team headed up by Jeff Archer for keeping Luton HKK running so smoothly in my absence.


August was my Annual Birthday BBQ, which we were fortunate to have great weather for and Jeff the chef made sure that all the hungry hordes’ food levels were maintained. I would also like to thank the club for my birthday present (air fryer) which is being used a lot!!


November welcomed an addition to the Buxton family so I would like to take a moment to congratulate Sensei Buxton whose wife gave birth to their second son on 14/11/2017, which weighed in at 7.7lbs. and has been named William Luke Buxton. Both mother and baby are doing well. With the arrival of a new child and parenting commitment’s Sensei Buxton will not be in the dojo for a while until things settle down at home.


December we have a mile stone birthday of note, I would like to wish Sensei Jeff Archer a very happy 40th Birthday for the 19th December. I am sure that the club has a few surprises in store for you!!


Good luck to all those due to grade on the 3rd December, I am sure you will do the club and yourselves proud. It is important that you remember that Luton HKK does have very high standards when it comes to grading’s so when you pass your grading you know that you have earnt it and this high standard in both fitness and technique will put you ahead of most people at your grade.


I would like to take the time at this point to welcome all of our new members who have joined us this year and hope that you are enjoying being part of the Luton HKK Family/Club and Higashi Karate Kai.  I would also like to thank all of our current members for their continued loyalty and support.


Sensei John Hurley

Chief Instructor, Luton Higashi Karate Kai



Tokyo 2020, these words should have been on every karateka’s lips recently when Karate finally gained acceptance into the Olympics, even if only as a demonstration sport for that Olympiad.


As a karate practitioner first and foremost I realise competition karate is not to everyone’s liking, however for myself I think everybody should compete for several reasons.


  • It pushes your fitness levels to new heights which in turn helps you in your traditional karate training
  • It allows you to experience a situation where somebody is trying to hit you in a controlled environment
  • It shows what you can and cannot do in terms of application of techniques
  • It teaches you to cope with pressure and stress
  • You learn how to lose
  • You meet new friends (hopefully after you have beaten them!)


It takes courage to enter a competition and stand on the mats being judged (kata) or attacked (kumite), and for me your karate should be about taking risks rather than playing it safe and staying in your comfort zone.


Finally, it takes commitment as you need to commit to your training, you need to commit financially as you need to purchase equipment, however wouldn’t it be nice in years to come if you could call yourself ‘Olympic Karate Champion’.


Sensei Eugene Smith

New Policies within the Luton Dojo


This last year has seen a lot of changes in Luton HKK, both inside and outside of the Dojo. As such, the instructing team have been obliged to bring in several new schemes to keep up with these changes.


There is now a new Social Media Policy that is handed out with every starter pack and a copy has been passed out to all students earlier this year. This is by no means extensive and is subject to change at any point by the instructing team but we would urge you all to abide by it going forwards.


There have also been a couple of occasions this year of disrespect to higher grades from lower grades. Please remember that as students, you are here to learn. As your instructors, we are giving our time and knowledge to help you advance within the dojo and the Federation. Instances of rudeness or being disrespectful to a higher grade will be noted and, if necessary, will be dealt with by the instructing panel.


Karate places a lot of emphasis on respect, etiquette and discipline. It’s not just on how you treat others, but how you want to be treated by them as well. That doesn’t just apply to the dojo either, but is a good Mantra for life as well.


Written by Sensei Jeff Archer

Higashi Wado Ryu Karate


The style of karate practiced at Luton is based on the Wado Ryu that was taught to Sensei Peter Spanton in the 1960s by his teacher Tatsuo Suzuki. Since the formation of the Higashi Karate Kai federation in 1968, Sensei Spanton has adapted the traditional Wado Ryu style into something that is uniquely his own take on what works and what doesn’t in a very practical manner. If you have studied a traditional Wado Ryu style of karate then you may notice the subtle differences in the execution of some techniques. For example, a front punch is always a front punch, but a knife hand block might hold the front hand in a different position. We do still follow the principles of Wado Ryu, in that this is very much influenced by Ju Jitsu, and we use our opponent’s energy against them as we seek to deflect and destabilise rather than to meet them head on. In addition to Sensei Spanton’s adaptation of the traditional Wado Ryu style he has also developed a number of advanced kata unique to Higashi – these are typically practiced from 3rd kyu and higher, but are not required for grading purposes until beyond 1st dan.

Simon Mills

General Dojo Tidiness


Our Dojo is not the biggest of places and there is currently a lot of new students and space has started to become a bit of an issue.


With that in mind, please can all students ensure that their kit is stowed somewhere out of the way at the start of each lesson and not just dumped in the middle of the floor?


We all have a duty to keep our Dojo clean and tidy so please bear that in mind when you train in the future.


Jeff Archer

Dojo Timekeeping


It has come to the attention of the instructing team that lately there has been an increasing amount of students who are periodically turning up late for lessons and just wandering in and joining the class without an apology or a reason.


This is not only disrupting the lesson but it is also bad etiquette.


Please can you ensure that you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the lesson to allow them to begin on time?


The instructors and higher grades put a lot of their time and effort into ensuring things run smoothly and continued instances of lateness do not help with that.


Written by Jeff Archer


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