Baldock karate kids becomes third generation of black belts in family

Leyah in action.

Leyah in action. - Credit: Archant

Leyah Fullarton-Turner passed the exam – which tested her sparring, self-defence, stamina and included a Japanese written exam – last Saturday.

The three generations of black belts.

The three generations of black belts. - Credit: Archant

At the age four, Leyah started learning karate through the Association of Zoku, which means ‘family’ and goes with the saying ‘families who play together, stay together.’

Leyah has trained at Zoku Shotokan Karate at Brandles School in Baldock for the past five years, under the stewardship of her mother, Sarah Fullarton, and granddad, George Fullarton, who are both 5th Dan black belts and chief instructors at the club. Her father, Alan Turner, is a 4th Dan black belt and is also instructs at the Weston Way club.

Leyah also teaches adults and children on a weekly basis after being presented with the Cadet Instructor qualification – an award that you are only supposed to achieve when you are 11 years of age.

Leyah, who returned from competing at the Irish Dancing Celtic Championships on the morning of her exam, said: “It’s been really hard and extremely tough at times, because of having to learn Japanese and remember so many things. It’s taken a very long time to get my black belt, from when I first put on a white belt, but it was definitely worth it.

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“I love karate and love teaching other people. It’s my dream to one day become a fully qualified instructor, but in the meantime I’ll carry on training, learning and teaching.”

The youngster is now focusing on an upcoming violin exam, but is determined to help her five-year-old sister progress – she is already on her fourth belt.

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She added: “I want to help other people, including my little sister Amber, get her black belt. I would say, never give up on anything.”

Leyah’s mother Sarah said: “All of Leyah’s family and friends are very proud of what she’s achieved in passing her black belt. She has put a huge amount of hard work and dedication into her training over the last five years, and it certainly shows.

“She has become a role model to many other students in the association, although Leyah would probably play it down. Her granddad, her dad and I, in particular, are over the moon.”

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