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5 minutes with Sensei Dave Fraser

KSD karateka

In 2019 Sensei Dave Fraser (3rd Dan), one of our oldest students, took his 2nd Dan grading. This is the story of that day and Sensei Dave’s karate journey:

Grandad achieves 2nd black belt after 45 years

At the grand old age of 65 years Sensei Dave Fraser, a proud grandfather achieved his 2nd Dan black belt last weekend at Ken Shu Dojo in Victoria Lane, Whitefield under the guidance of Renshi Daz Barber and Shihan Ken Makin. It was back in 1975 that he passed his first black belt.

Dave started his Karate Career in 1972 and worked his way through the ranks under his well-respected Sensei Dave Jones. For his 1st Dan blackbelt his grade panel consisted of Sensei Roy Stanhope, Sensei Peter Constaindine and Sensei Stan Knighton of the then Shukokai Karate Union (SKU), he trained and competed successfully in many competitions. 

Last weekend, over 2 days and 11 hours he proudly stood in front of a very esteemed panel which consisted of the two 6th Dan’s above with over 70 years of experience between them along with Sensei James Coletrup 4th dan, Sensei Brad Kay 2nd dan who have a combined experience of over 35 years. The other three who graded along with Dave, Dylan, Becks and Beth have a combined age that is still 20 years less than his 65 years. And yet he remains thankful to them for their encouragement and support. 

Sensei Dave Fraser and Ken Shu Dojo karate students holding their black belt grading certificates
Dylan, Sensei Bethany, Sensei Dave and Sensei Rebecca achieving their black belt grades.

“When I was told I passed my 2nd Dan grading the relief swept over me. I became emotional knowing that over 45 years later I succeeded in passing. I could not believe it. I respected the fact that they supported a geriatric (in age, not in mind) and could see I could do it.”

Renshi Barber asked him if there were any differences between this and his previous gradings. He replied: “To gain a black belt at KSD was harder and more demanding than back in the ’70s”.

He clearly has a love for the sport. Karate was different in those days, none of this namby-pamby stuff you see on YouTube. We were taught to win and win hard. Blood and glory were often the remit to succeed in those days. The SKU was a force to be reckoned with. I had the opportunity and pleasure to train under the founder of modern Shukokai Karate Soke Shigeru Kimura 10th Dan who sadly passed in 1995. The training was special never to be repeated.

Sensei Dave Fraser in a group photo with karate students in the 1970s
Sensei Dave (bottom row, 3rd left) with Kimura Sensei (top row, 1st left).

Talking of his passion for Karate today, Dave explains;

“I believe that all children today would benefit from Karate and the respect, the strength of character, fitness and discipline it instils. We see it with children of all backgrounds, who all come together to study the art of Karate, they become part of the Karate family and work their way through the ranks.”

“I came back to train at KSD karate in Whitefield over seven years ago. The club instils the traditional style of Shigeru Kimura and continues to be a strength, not only producing world champions but has traditional beliefs without the politics and money factory approach most “karate” clubs to have these days. Honestly, I look at the classes here and see the family that has been created from the new students at the back to the black belts. The respect for each other and the style is second to none.”

Sensei Dave Fraser, Sensei Daz Barber and Sensei James Coletrup
Sensei Dave with KSD chief instructor Sensei Daz and KSD instructor Sensei James.

Will dave continue on his karate journey?

“Well, after a hot bath and a glass of Rioja and a week of recovery training I will see, I would love to continue and gain my 3rd Dan but that is another minimum 3 years away.”

“I implore anyone to take up traditional Karate, for your mind body and soul, You’re never too young or old. My grandchildren and children are so proud of me, I hope they pick up a little some of what I have achieved.”