Ilkley Karate Club have welcomed four new members to their ever-increasing group of black belts.
Rose Blackburne, 11, who has brought a third generation of first dans to her family, Sam Davison, 13, Matthew Ginty, 14, and Richard Hooper, 17, successfully completed their grading to the rank of first degree black belt and now join the elite ranks within the Shito-Ryu Shukokai Karate Union (SSKU).
All four achieved their long-term ambition after completing a six-hour test of mental and physical endu-rance. The national black-belt gradings are held in Manchester twice yearly, with all the students graded by three of the most distinguished chief instructors in England, which is what makes them so hard to get. Each certificate is authenticated with Grand Master Soke Yamada's seal. He is recognised as the formative head of shukokai. Ilkley's chief instructor Mark Outterside said: "You really need to prove yourself both technically and physically these days, and if you do pass the grade of black belt, especially in our style of karate, you feel you have earned it. "It takes on average four years from beginner to black-belt level through the grading system."
Ilkley's Elly Field, 12, was competitor of the day at the first Airedale Children's Kata and Kumite Championships in Keighley.
Ilkley won 14 trophies - including four first and eight second-place awards, which was impressive considering more than 100 students competed from clubs in Leeds, Yeadon, Guiseley and Skipton.
Ilkley results - Kata (set moves): Boys' yellow and orange belt, 3rd Rahul Midgley; boys' green to purple belt, 1st Piers Walton; girls' brown and black belt, 1st Elly Field, 2nd Tanya Donkin; boys' brown and black belt, 2nd Sam Davison.
Kumite (free fighting): Boys and girls' yellow and orange belt (under 4ft 6in) 1st Joe Jamieson, 2nd Alice Wells; girls' green to purple belt, 2nd Michaela Wells; boys' green to purple belt (10-12 years), 2nd Piers Walton; boys' yellow to purple belt (over 5ft), 2nd Nick Swanepoel; girls' brown and black belt, 1st Tanya Donkin, 2nd Elly Field; boys' brown and black belt (over 5ft), 2nd Max Taylor, 3rd Sam Davison.
Source: Telegraph and Argus