Karate black belt honour for Perse pupil

Maya Evans (Year 9) has chopped her way to the top after achieving a black belt in karate.

She underwent an energy-sapping seven-hour exam to make the grade, having taken up the martial art five years ago.

Training with her club Haverhill Wado Freestyle Karate, Maya was put through her paces with a gruelling series of fitness tests, kicks, jumps, strikes and kata (sequences of movements), as well as demonstrating self-defence skills to counter random attacks.

To round off the grading, Maya had to do several rounds of sparring with the other candidates as well as the instructors.

She said: “I was exhausted at the end of it and the next day I didn’t really do much because I was very sore, but also very pleased I’d done it.

“Because I’m under 16, I’ve got a cadet black belt, but I’ve been able to start teaching the new kids at the club on Mondays which is nice. It feels like it’s come full circle because the past black belts helped me and I’m now helping the young ones.”

Maya explained that her passion for martial arts stemmed from being a fan of the Karate Kid film series.

She said: “I watched Karate Kid many times as a kid and wanted to copy all the moves, so when I turned up at the club, I was very excited to start doing it. It’s quite challenging in a fun way, but I just enjoy it so much and I think it looks cool.

“I belong to a really good club which is very inclusive, especially with the young ones. They want everyone to enjoy it, but the higher up you go, it gets a bit more intense.

“I’d love to get more involved and help run the club when I’m an adult black belt because I already enjoy helping the new members.”

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