Leigh Park karate club honours area’s war heroes at gruelling grading

Students and instructors from PSKO Karate Havant all sported red poppies on their karate uniforms during the club's latest grading - on Remembrance Sunday.
Students and instructors from PSKO Karate Havant all sported red poppies on their karate uniforms during the club's latest grading - on Remembrance Sunday.
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MARTIAL artists young and old showed their pride for Britain’s fallen heroes by sporting the poppy during a key test of their karate knowledge.

Members of the Leigh Park-based PSKO Karate all wore red poppies on their white karate uniform as they displayed their skills during their latest grading exam on Remembrance Sunday.

Karate students run through drills at PSKO Karate Havant during the Remembrance Sunday grading.

Karate students run through drills at PSKO Karate Havant during the Remembrance Sunday grading.

It was the first time the club’s testing date had fallen on the nationwide commemoration, which was this year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Students completed a series of gruelling tasks from exercises and showing off their kicks and punches, to displaying their self-defence techniques and performing kata – a traditional fixed routine of blocks, kicks and punches – before the successful ones were awarded their new belts.

Samantha Lewington, one of the club’s black belt instructors oversaw, the grading and was touched by the students’ display of patriotic pride.

She said: ‘Grading day always falls on a Sunday every four months and this is the first time we have worn poppies during a grading day in Remembrance.

Youngsters Kara Cook, left, and Jazmyne Mcclelland show off their skills as they graded from yellow belt to orange belt.

Youngsters Kara Cook, left, and Jazmyne Mcclelland show off their skills as they graded from yellow belt to orange belt.

‘Grading day is a memorable day, students often tell us they remember these days their whole lives. But this Sunday’s was extra special.

‘Together, our chief instructor Micheal Fletcher, event coordinator Louise Mcclelland, myself, the students and their parents felt everyone being involved together in the 100th Remembrance would be significant in continuing the memories of our ancestors and the sacrifices they made for us, their future generations.’

PSKO Karate is based at St Michael and All Saints Church, with evening classes running Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For details, search ‘PSKO Karate Havant’ on Facebook.