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On July 19th, 2019, 3rd Kyu and up and Dan Grading were held at the IOGKF Israel honbu dojo in Netanya.  On the grading panel: Amos Danielli, Danny Meisler and Moshe Halevi.  Twenty-one students from six dojo tested and all but two passed.

 The youngest student grading was 16-year-old Shalev Zioni from Jerusalem.  Shalev, who began training at age seven, became a man at his bar-mitzvah (when he turned 13) but according to the IOGKF protocol went from a youth to an adult when he received his brown belt (kyu 3) from the Kambukai Grading Panel.  “I tried to do my best so I would make a good impression.  It was fun, but tiring.”

 The student with the least time training was 40-year-old mother of two Keren Avnon from Atlit who has been training for just under three years and also received 3rd kyu.  “It was not as horrible as I anticipated.  In fact, the grading panel created a supportive atmosphere and it was a cool experience.  Even the partner work, which I was nervous about, was fine.”

 The oldest student was Motti Yifrach of Jerusalem.  At 59-year-old he was also the one who started the earliest (in 1973).  Motti received his Nidan along with Natti Gilboa from Ramat Gan.  Both performed a passionate kata with a high degree of understanding of the meaning.

 Six of the candidates were women, including four women who received the rank of Shodan: Nurit Guthrie from Beit Nehemya, Yanna Shifrut from Petach Tikvah, Tsipi Berkovitz from Jerusalem and Vered Hadar from Netanya (who also, in my opinion, would take the prize for most impressive kata – but there isn’t one).  It will be a bright day when IOGKF Israel joins Denmark in the distinction of boasting a 50/50 male to female ratio in the dojo.    Unrelated fun fact: July 19th was also Norma Pantonowitz’s birthday.  Upon receiving chocolates and flowers at the dojo where she continues to serve as our international liaison Norma admitted to being 39.  Again…

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