Karate black belts are not handed out without a huge physical effort and mastery of skills after years of study by students.
But the exacting grading process did not deter Maitland’s newest black belts Jodie Moore and Trisha Wilson who fought through the exhaustion of 30, two minute rounds of fighting to qualify.
Moore, who was awarded the Kirkwood Institute of Karate senior student of the year award, and Wilson were among more than 120 students assessed by a panel of judges from across NSW and Queensland.
The youngest participants were just six and aiming for their yellow belts.
At the more experienced end was Cristine Hopkins who became the first person over 50 to attempt and earn their second degree black belt.
Hopkins’ dedication was further recognised with the black belt student of the year award.
Piper Kirkwood, 13, earned her green belt and the junior student of the year award.
Chief instructor Peter Kirkwood said the testing became more rigorous at each division and in the black belt divisions including testing with various weapons.
“It really is an exhausting day, Jodie and Trisha had to fight 30 two minute rounds against fresh opponents. At the fourth degree level testing goes nearly three hours,” Kirkwood said.
Going up the ranks Callen Moore and Kenny Curtis both qualified for their first degree black belt and Cristine Hopkins achieved her second degree.
Raymond Terrace’s Ben Merrick was awarded his third degree black belt and Tony Hughes from Kurri Kurri earned his fourth degree black belt.
Students went through their paces for yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown and black belts.