A 15-YEAR-old student and Karate enthusiast successfully achieved one of the toughest grade in the sport.

Naomi Greasley, from Ripon Grammar School, whose ambition is to compete at the Olympics, won her coveted black belt, which reportedly requires years of intense training.

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She won it after undergoing a gruelling four-hour assessment which only an elite few – less than five percent who take up martial arts – go on to become a black belt, with under a third of those being achieved by females worldwide.

The teenager from Sharow, North Yorkshire, was assessed by a panel of three karate teachers, or “senseis,” led by England head coach Ady Gray, to achieve her sought-after first ‘dan’ – Japanese for “step” – black belt.

Speaking on her achievement, Naomi said her ambition was to join the England Team and “compete at the Olympics.”

She said: “My ambition is to join the England Team and compete at the Olympics. Karate was only added to the Olympics in 2020 so it’s an exciting development for the sport,” says Naomi.

“There are also fewer girls in karate, so I’m proud to be leading the way and hopefully encouraging other girls to join.”

Grading tested her knowledge for traditional karate, including kata and kumite, which were shown for the first time at the last Olympics in Tokyo.

She also had to demonstrate the practical application of karate as used in self-defence.

Naomi added: “I have really been inspired by my sensei Ady Gray. As a sixth dan black belt, he challenges me and encourages me to do better and inspires me to be the best I can be, guiding me on my journey from white to black belt.

“It can be a struggle to fit everything in, but I always make as much time for karate as I can.”

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Mr Gray praised Naomi’s amazing commitment and dedication, he said: “Karate done correctly should always be about personal development, not only in the practical sense but also in the progress of personality, character, disciple and respect.”


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