RISING Dragons Taekwon-Do have had a busy month of October, with students undergoing gradings for their new belts.

On Saturday, October 7, the club held their first black belt grading since opening 18 months ago, with examiner Master Jaap Teeuwissen – a seventh dan black belt – visiting from Amsterdam to assist chief instructor Jamie Halford.

Hoping to obtain their first dan qualification were Demi Baker, Jessica Blackley, Mason Blackley, Cameron Evans and Lucia Cunningham. They started by performing routines showcasing the skills they have attained in over four years of training, followed by several groups of set sparring and finally, strength and power tests. Helping her older sister Demi for the set sparring was nine-year-old Brooke Baker.

Next to grade were Cian Allen and Cody Jacobsen for their second dan and Matthew Bennett and Keita Enfield going for their third dan. All four showed the examiners their skill with a number of patterns, strength and power displays, weapon patterns and board breaking.

After a long day, the grading came to an end and the students had a few hours to wait before heading to the presentation evening, where they received their new black belts and certificates.

On October 25, the club held a coloured belt grading. The students stood in front of a board made up of chief instructor Jamie Halford and instructor Matthew Bennett, with support from the club's black belts. Performing their relevant patterns and set sparring with fitness tests and knowledge tests, all students waited a further five days before finding out if they had progressed to the next level. The results of the grading were as follows:

Promoted to Eighth Kup: Sonny Baker, Cleo Davies; Seventh Kup: Oakley Allen, Harley Jacobsen; Sixth Kup: Lacey Blackley; Third Kup: Ella Bedford, Riley Reese, Bailey Reese; Second Kup: Charlie Rogers; First Kup: Thea Cunningham and Maddison Allen.

Riley Reese also took the Rising Dragons grading shield for an exceptional performance during his grading.

Finally, on October 29 the club took a small contingent of students to the Welsh Rumble held at the Western Leisure centre in Cardiff, organised by the Welsh Kickboxing Union.

The students have been off the fight circuit for a while preparing for their respective gradings, but still put on a great performance coming away with awards for Oakley Allen who fought for the title of WKU Welsh Champion and won. He also picked up a first place trophy for his age group in the points fighting category and a third place for his continuous fighting.

Elsewhere Cameron Evans came home with a second place in continuous, Cian Allen had a first in points and a second in continuous and Cleo Davies, in her first tournament, took home a first place in points. Ella Bedford and Brooke Baker also fought well in their respective categories to come away with a first and second place in the patterns section.

Charlie Rogers, Cody Jacobsen and Thea Cunningham also put on brave performances but were in with some tough opponents in their categories.

If you are interested in taking up Taekwondo, come along to Victoria Park Community Centre (next to Cadoxton Nursery) on Mondays or Wednesdays at 6pm, where someone will be happy to discuss the club and your requirements. The first lesson is free for new joiners.