Four pass international black belt grading

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FOUR teenagers are celebrating after passing their international black belt in Taekwondo.

Joe Billham, 13, Melina Notidou 14, Luke Stronach 15 and Sophie Noble, 16, have all been training since five-year-olds with Reflex Academy in Whitley Bay with instructor Brett Stronach.

The international black belt in Taekwondo, the Korean martial art of self defence, and now an Olympic sport, consisted of the students performing well in a gruelling three-hour practical in front of a panel of examiners and a and a five-hour assessed technical session the day before.

They had to perform patterns, board breaking, self defence techniques and various technical kicks and other techniques, in addition to sitting a written examination the day before and the submission of a thesis.

It is a huge achievement for the students involved and places Notidou and Billham as the youngest female and male students who have successfully passed an ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) black belt grading through the Reflex school in Whitley Bay.

It has taken many years of dedication, perseverance and determination to succeed and their skills are such that they are now eligible to participate in the World Cup in Brighton in October, together with a number of others from the club.

For enquiries about classes at Reflex, contact Tracey on (0191) 251 9159.