Karate kids to make grade
By TONY WHITE
INSPIRED by the hit movie 'The Karate Kid," Grafton 10-year-old Jacqui Hickman is just a kick or two away from gaining her black belt.
The pocket dynamo and friend, Nicklas Howard, 12, who have been training in Shorinji Kai martial arts for two and a half years, are scheduled to take the demanding black belt grading test in South Grafton today under chief instructors, Graham Marker and John McPherson and visitors from Sydney, Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Lake Cajellico.
The duo's main coach has been Ken Barratt.
The black belt grading is mentally, physically and technically demanding.
Included in the test are:
100 push ups and 100 sit ups.
Perform a detailed, intricate kata (pattern).
Free spar with other senior black belts for at least one hour.
Perform a kata of their own design based on a combination of kicks and punches for exactly one minute.
Jacqui has taken to martial arts with aplomb and relish.
"I always wanted to have a go after watching the Karate Kid, but dad (Bob) got me into it and it was a bit of a surprise," she said.
"One day after school he said 'get changed, we're going somewhere.'
"I didn't know where we were going but it was great when we got there (the dojo). I really enjoy it (karate)."
The South Grafton Primary student has also learned to become a proficient instructor, brown belts and upwards taking classes which include adults and children.
"Once you get to a certain belt you get to take the classes. It teaches you leadership skills," the articulate Jacqui said.
"That's really good, I enjoy it.
"It's great for your stamina, fitness and learning self defence."
"She makes them work really hard," Jacqui's father Bob said.
Jacqui is also a blue belt in the Korean martial art, tae kwon do.
Between the two disciplines she trains at least four times a week.
And the martial arts bug is spreading through the Hickman family.
Jacqui's five-year-old sister Shavaun has started Shorinji Kai and intends to add tae kwon do to her training regime at a later date.