Mid Sussex resident Julia Turley has been awarded a 6th Dan by Iwao Tamotsu, 10th Dan Grand Master of the International Federation of Shorinjiryu Renshinkan Karate Do.
Julia has been practising karate for 32 years, having started as a young university graduate, starting in a small scout hut with four other students in Cuckfield, West Sussex.
Julia is the only female Honbucho (head of country) in the Renshinkan world organisation and is now the only female holder of a 6th Dan. Julia achieved her Shodan (first degree black belt) in 1987, and has been working as a Godan (5th Dan) for 13 years.
She now leads an organisation of 200 plus students based in and around Sussex. Julia was also awarded the title of Kyoshi which perhaps has even greater meaning than the 6th Dan alone.
This is awarded in recognition of a teacher’s long commitment to his or her art and reflects an achievement of great skill in teaching and leading in the traditional world of Japanese Budo.
Julia commenting on her 5th Dan award and Kyoshi title said: “It is a great honour to receive these awards, very few rise to this level in the traditional karate world and I feel I am breaking new ground for women.”
The awards were made during the All England Championships held at The Triangle, Burgess Hill, in front of a packed arena audience and was met with sustained applause and cheers by students, parents, friends and well-wishers alike.
2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Shorinjiryu Renshinkan. The organisation holds a worldwide membership of 350,000 students. The headquarters is based in Kagoshima, Japan.
Report and picture contributed by Andy Walters.