While Kancho thought that the 9th Dan promotion in 1995 by ATAMA, as well as the lifetime achievement award by the International Association of Martial Arts, or the Most Distinguished Instructor award by AMAHOF in 1996 were all something that was only ever dreamed about, let alone realized, the best was yet to come.
The following year, at the second AMAHOF meeting, Kancho was presented with a grade promotion to 10th Degree Black belt in Jiu-jitsu by Grand Masters Harold Long and Gary Alexander, of the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
Kancho made International martial arts history by becoming the first all-Australian Black belt Master teacher to receive the elite status of Grand Master, 10th Dan black belt, the highest grade rank ever awarded in martial arts.
It was an event billed as the Academy Awards of international martial arts on the weekend of November 29th, 1997. This was the second annual Australasian Martial Arts Hall Of Fame, held in conjunction with the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. On this occasion, the event was attended by two of the world’s leading exponents of martial arts representing the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and some of the top martial artists in Australasia.
At the official dinner on the Saturday night of November 29th, Kancho Bradshaw was presented with his 10th Dan certificate and ceremonial belt, while the congregation of over two hundred guests, most of whom were martial arts masters in their own right, gave him a standing ovation, not once, but twice. This Grand Master status is honoured by AMAHOF and WKUHOF representing one hundred and forty countries worldwide. Upon receiving the grade, Kancho was, for about the first time, momentarily speechless, as he stood on the dais looking at his newly presented red belt, but this condition did not last long. It was a memorable moment.
To have these honours bestowed upon him in consecutive years was testimony to the dedication and the high calibre of teaching of Grand Master Bradshaw. As then President of AMAHOF Shihan Gallon said:
“This year, for the first time in Australia, the combined awards dinner and seminar was attended by four 10th Dan martial artists. There wouldn’t be more than about fifty legitimate 10th Dan in the world, so to have four here is a real coup, and one is our very own,” he said. “I’ve been involved in the martial arts for 34 years and have been teaching martial arts for 28 years and I’ve never heard of it happening before.”
The 10th Dans were karate Grandmasters Long and Alexander and Kempo karate Grandmaster Robert Gemmel of New Zealand with the fourth being Kancho himself. Shihan Gallon said the promotion of Professor Bradshaw to 10th Dan was a watershed in Australian martial arts:
“He (Kancho) is Australia’s first home-grown 10th Dan and this really marks the maturity of martial arts in Australia,”
Two of the highest-ranking Board Members of the World Karate Union came out to represent the World Headquarters and to specifically present the 10th Dan ranking to Kancho Bradshaw. Both Grandmasters said it was an honour allowing them to accept Kancho into the elite fold of Grandmasters.
It was a humbling experience for our Kancho to have peers of such a high calibre bestow such an honour upon him.
AMAHOF also presented Kancho with a Golden Life Achievement Award in recognition for outstanding personal achievements and advancement of the martial arts for over fifty years. A plaque was presented to serve as a reminder of a job well done. As Kancho was fond of saying, part of gaining knowledge is a journey of knowing that there is so much more still yet to be learnt and so much more for those who seek it.
It is a journey that we, his students, continue.