FIFTY adults from all over Northern Ireland attended the recent Senior Dan Grade examinations at the Dojo, Ballymena, the head-quarters of WJJF Ireland.
Grades ranged from 1st Dan to 5th Dan Master and students were put through a gruelling two-hour examination testing stamina, endurance, the full range of their syllabus techniques and kata performance.
Among participants, was Jock Hunter Snr, a well-known and very highly thought of Scotsman who has made Ballymena his home.
Many locals will know him from doing door security in the town’s bars.
He is a longstanding member of the Ballymena Club which transferred to ‘The Dojo.’
Jock’s dependability and keen work ethic meant that he was charged with scheduling the transport for international guests for the organisation’s World Congress in 2002.
And over the years, he built a friendship with the head of the organisation, David Toney, so that he was chosen to be an usher at his wedding in 2005.
Jock’s personal and working commitments became such that he took a break from training for a few years.
But he was welcomed back with open arms into the fold and soon became an active member of the Dojo, local community interest company – and the appointed Safeguarding officer for the Dojo Juniors charity.
It was with great pleasure that Shihan Toney invited him to undertake his 5th Dan Master degree this year, alongside his good friend and training buddy, Sensei Kevin McCloskey from Carrick Ju-jitsu Club.
This is a very prestigious Grade, by invitation only from Head of Country, David Toney (International Chairman for the organisation worldwide) and it is ratified by the President of the organisation in Milan, Shike Bertoletti.
Jock battled terrible sciatic pain to complete the strict conditions that are required to fulfil application.
And further to that – having undergone sports physio and massage therapy he underwent examination before the Shihan Kai in Ireland and was thrilled to pass successfully.
He and Mr McCloskey received their Master Degree to the tumultuous applause of all their peers and the large Team of 20 examining instructors.