Cassie's achieved coveted Black Black status!

Cassie Favorido is a talented young musician but she shows a completely different skill, but with equal commitment, to her involvement in karate, where she trains very hard at the Pembroke Dock Karate Club and recently achieved Black Belt First Dan Status.
It was a remarkable success for the 15 year old but it meant even more to her because it was a double family triumph as her father Carlo joined her in achieving that coveted Black Belt status at a grading session in the club run for so many years by Graham Thomas.

Cassie FavoridoHigh praise from coach Graham

Graham told us,
"Cassie is the perfect example of someone doing so well because she is totally committed, ready to listen to good advice and willing to take on any challenge we set her."
And Graham should know what he is talking about because he is now a Black Belt Sixth Dan and as such is now deservedly able to be known as SHIHAN Graham Thomas in recognition of being so highly graded.
She started out in karate as a nipper after enjoying a few short training runs with her father and when the chance came for her to try karate she jumped at it.

Great support from the start

"I wasn't really nervous," Cassie told us, "but I had such a warm welcome and feeling of support from my parents (Carlo and Nikki) that once I had got into the swing of things I couldn't wait for the next training session to begin.
"The sessions are hard work but it is a satisfying feeling to complete them and the great thing is that Graham and the other coaches are respected by all because self-discipline is demanded from the outset, with any loss of concentration or silly mistakes resulting in some press-ups as the reward!

Lots of hard work in training

"We have a warm-up session to start which involves a series of sprints up and down the Dojo (the name given to the training area), followed by more running but linked to different moves called out by the coach which help build up flexibility.
"Then we do sit ups, press ups, squat thrusts and lots of other exercises before we get down to the hard bag and pad work to build up power - and we even have stand-alone dummies to practise our kicks and punches on!

Learning kata and kumite

"In our Kata sessions we have to show our ability to understand basic techniques in a series of moves where their names are called out in Japanese and we have to learn them so that we could do them without thinking - so that we move on to the next stage of Bunkai (where we show that the Kata helps us deal with real life situations if someone were to grab our wrist or attack from behind).
"We practise these moves in Kumite, the name given to our free fighting, where we take on an opponent from the class, before some stretching moves to cool down. I sometimes have to take on my father in these situations and I always try to give as good as I get in what becomes a physical battle!

Cassie training hardGreat for self defence

"Our style is known as 'Wada Ryu' or 'Empty hand - Way of Peace', which is why our badge features a fist and a dove and we have to learn the series of blocks and counter punches as a measure of self defence.
"It all sounds very complex but is part of development from being a white belt when we start out through a natural progression involving another form of white belt, yellow, orange, green, purple - and three different sections in the brown belt before going for the Black Belt First Dan.”

The big day dawns

Cassandra and Carlo had originally scheduled to complete their grading in the summer but it was decided to postpone it until recently, when they were put through their paces by four assessors, led by Graham Thomas, after all the lower gradings had been completed.
"I must be honest and say that whilst we were warming up in the room next to the Dojo I felt a bit nervous but once we were called in together for the Kata it somehow felt right that we were sharing the experience after so long in reaching that moment - and although we couldn't look at each other it was a help.
“Then that precious moment came when I was congratulated on being a Black Belt - and dad was told he had passed too – and mum Niki was just as thrilled as we were!"

Musically talented too!

Going back to Cassie's musical talents, she certainly hails from a musical family because mum plays flute as her main instrument and then violin, whilst dad plays clarinet and occasionally the piano - and Cassie has been playing the flute for the best part of six years and has already reached Grade Six as well as looking to continue taking her grades.
Outside of her karate, Cassie also enjoys playing hockey at Bush Comprehensive, helps out when needed in netball and previously played rugby for Pembroke Dock Harlequins Juniors in tag rugby.

Important role

Cassie uses a swing kickBack on the karate front, Cassie has competed in club-based competitions as a means of gaining competition experience and a measure of her commitment can be gauged by the fact that at the first club Christmas party she attended she was awarded the 'Student of the Year' award, which was a real boost.
Ask Cassie about how she feels in her role as a karate student and she would be quick to provide her answer.
"Sometimes there is a feeling amongst girls I know that karate is too rough for them and I tell them it is great for them if they only gave it a chance because it encourages self-discipline and gives a feeling of confidence in terms of self defence, if ever the situation arose that it was needed."
"They would be encouraged by the fantastic coaches, all superbly led by Graham Thomas, and I can speak from experience in saying it provides a whole new set of friends who are very supportive and encourage all the time.

And finally . . .

"I enjoy helping out with the junior members and they are already starting to look up to me now that I have my Black Belt, but still love nothing better than thinking they can beat me on the Dojo.”
When chatting for a short while to Cassie Favorido and it becomes very clear that she thoroughly enjoys her time at Pembroke Dock Karate Club and as Graham Thomas told us,
“She is an example to other teenagers in her commitment.”
We could pay her no higher compliment and we wish this modest young lady further success in what she does alongside dad at their karate involvement!”