It is my honour to be the 6th Master of my line. The ones who walked before me are.
Waldemar (Wally) Szlagowski (also Grandmaster).
George Pandu (also Grandmaster and my Teacher).
Now myself, John Cook.
I give thanks to all who came and gave me support and I am very grateful to all those who assisted me on the day.
I started with some light tamashiwari – more because I like smashing things than any other reason apart from warming up.
I was assisted in two kids self - defence routines by firstly Nicholas Plew and Carina Zahra, then by Brendan Zahra. Luke Bottle assisted me in a choreographed bokken display. I displayed Szlagowski Fighting Kata’s one & two these are two man kata so I was assisted by Josh Ransom then my long time Karate Brother and partner in crime Steve Erixon. Followed By Kata Tegatana (swordhand) from the Shindo Jinen Ryu system(thanks Kym). Since my personal way is purely self - defence orientated, I see almost anything as a potential improvised weapon, so using Nicole Groger as my target (in the gentlest possible way) an everyday stainless steel kitchen spatula/egg flipper and a normal pair of tongs were brought into operation – these are very dangerous in the right hands. Then a small garden hand rake and hand trowel were used – even more dangerous, followed by a small pruning saw and then a normal common garden spade. This session ended by me blocking, catching, throwing and strangling Josh Ransom with my T shirt – amazing what you can do with clothing!
Then I had the distinct honour to have a ceremonial spar with Master Jeff Barnes. This was particularly special to me as Jeff was the first one to “walk” with me at the old park (at my Teacher Georges request) when I was a complete and easy meat raw novice – he was very gentle with me then – but I think he “killed” me this day – couldn’t have come from a better man.
It was my honour to then be presented with a red Masters Belt, Certificate and a Wakizashi. My cup very much “runneth over”. Again my thanks to all.
Thank you – John Cook Masters Rank S.K.A..