Radcliffe duo’s belt success is a rare achievement

Bury Times: YOUNG SUCCESS Nine-year-olds Taylan Wolstenholme and Ebony Goodwin YOUNG SUCCESS Nine-year-olds Taylan Wolstenholme and Ebony Goodwin

Two young karate stars from Radcliffe are celebrating a rare achievement, after obtaining their 1st Dan Black belts at the first attempt.

Nine-year-old Taylan Wolstenholme and Ebony Goodwin, also aged nine – won their belts last month at the Rising Sun Karate Association’s Black Belt Grading event.

With most candidates taking two or three attempts to gain their belt, it is a real success for both of the youngsters to pass first time.

Their chief instructor and founder of RSKA, Sensei Tommy Kwan, said: “It is very rare to pass first time, but to pass first time at nine-years-old is a great achievement.”

On gaining her black belt Ebony, who attends Radcliffe Primary, said: “Both Taylan and myself have worked very hard, especially this year preparing for our grading. It was worth every bit of training and the very long and tiring grading to pass first time, I still can’t believe it”.

The friends, who have been through every grading and passed each one together, have trained at the Rising Sun since September 2009, when they were both just five-years-old.

Taylan, who lives in Bury Road and attends Cams Lane Primary School, said he is “really chuffed” to have gained the black belt.

The karate association celebrated its 40th anniversary at its headquarters in Stand Lane on November 17 by holding the grading contest, where Taylan and Ebony achieved their unique feat. Candidates are required to pass all seven sections in order to achieve the black belt. Nine youngsters took the grading and seven passed – six of which train at the Radcliffe club.

Taylan’s mum, Dawn, said: “To obtain a black belt is a massive achievement at such a young age. The standard is extremely high and if you achieve a black belt under Tommy Kwan (RSKA), then you know you have really achieved it.

“We are extremely proud of the effort and hard work that they have put into obtaining this 1st Dan Black Belt and their achievements will hopefully be added to the Black Belt Hall of Fame on RSKA’s website in the near future.”

Ebony’s mum said: “Watching their dedication to karate at such a young age has been amazing. “They started together and both passed their 1st Dan together. We are so very proud and know they will continue to achieve great things in their karate”.

Last year, the youngsters entered the Inter-Club Competition with Taylan winning the gold medal in the Katas Section, and Ebony achieving the gold medal in the Sparring Under-16s Section.

In January, the youngsters were awarded a certificate for being one of the top 10 students for 2012. They were also runners up in 2011.

Both Taylan and Ebony are now training for their 2nd Dan, which will take a minimum of two years to achieve, and Taylan also wants to obtain the instructors qualification as soon as he is old enough.

The Rising Sun Karate Association opened its first club in Whitefield back in 1973. Presently it has 18 active fully qualified black belt instructors, with two 6th Dans, three 5th Dans and five 4th Dans. Founder Tommy Kwan, who started training in karate in the mid 1960’s, has recently been awarded his 8th Dan black belt and Lifetime Achievement award.

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