Teenager earns black­belt

Northern Outlook - - OUT & ABOUT - JONATHAN LEASK

Ash­ton Hamp­ton be­came the youngest mem­ber of the Can­ter­bury Buller Goju Ryu Karate club to earn a black belt. In his eighth year with the club, the 13-year-old had his black belt grad­ing ear­lier this month.

‘‘Be­fore­hand I was very ner­vous and ex­cited to get it done,’’ he said.

‘‘There isn’t any­one younger to get it in our Club, but in some clubs they are eas­ier to earn than in ours.’’

He started when he was six and said he practices most days and has trav­elled to Ja­pan twice to train with the Masters.

‘‘[Karate] is a fam­ily pas­sion and we all train and prac­tice to­gether, so if one of us gets lazy the oth­ers push us along to keep going.’’

‘‘My dad got his Black Belt when I was a pur­ple belt, and we watched it all, and I’ve al­ways looked up to him to be some­one I want to be.

‘‘I love sport, but Karate for us is a way of life, and our club is a bit like a big fam­ily.

‘‘Im going to carry on train­ing as my sen­sei, Hay­den Wil­mott, says a black belt is still the be­gin­ning, its not the end, its just a big step on the way,’’

His fa­ther Kane, was proud to see Ash­ton pass his grad­ing, which he said en­tailed 40-non­stop fights and then 200 press ups to fin­ish.

‘‘It was gru­elling but he got the job done,’’ Kane said.

Ash­ton Hamp­ton, 13, re­ceived his black belt this month

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