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Karate Sensei instructs Ashville Prep School pupils in the way of the ‘empty hand’

Published by Ashville College on Wednesday 16th of November 2022

One of the country’s leading martial arts instructors has given pupils at Harrogate’s Ashville Prep School a lesson in the way of the ‘empty hand’.

During the assembly, Ady Gray, Head Kata Coach for England Karate Federation, gave an overview of the sport he has been teaching for more than 25 years, and explained how he brought the England team to Ripon for an all-important training camp ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Championships.

Japanese for ‘empty hand’, karate, he said, is taught and learned in a dojo. For Sensei Gray, a dojo is wherever he does his training, and at home that is more often than not the kitchen. That morning, it was Ashville Prep School hall.

Sensei Gray, who has a karate school in Ripon, showed a video of the England squad visiting the city, where they were not only put through their paces in rigorous training sessions, but also had time to meet the Mayor of Ripon and visit Ripon Cathedral.

The Ashville pupils heard that at the competition, the 18-strong English team won six gold, three silver and four bronze medals. Sensei Gray then had the difficult task of picking just five for the World Championships.

Instead of sulking and being upset at not being selected, Sensei Gray said the disappointment made them stronger as they knew they had to work even harder to win a place.

He finished the assembly by teaching the pupils a karate bow, at the same time as saying ‘Oss’, which means to be determined and never give up.

Ashville Prep School Head Asa Firth said: “We are grateful to Sensei Gray for coming to one of our assemblies. It was extremely interesting hearing about his long association with karate and his team’s success at the Commonwealth Championships.

“A number of our pupils are taking karate lessons, so it was great for them to meet someone who has reached an incredibly high level in the martial art. They also learned a number of important lessons about self-discipline, respect and how disappointment can help to make you stronger.”

For more information about Ashville Prep School, please visit or call 01423 566358.
 Karate Sensei instructs Ashville Prep School pupils in the way of the ‘empty hand’ - Photo 1
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