The girls weren't messing around as this youngster found out.
The girls weren't messing around as this youngster found out. Kelly Randall

Fighters make the grade

FOR the first time in recent memory, South Burnett fighters involved in the blackbelt grading process at Nanango's Karate4Kids centre achieved a 100% pass rate.

With all eight students making the step up in their respective grades, instructor Geoff French was beyond impressed with his charges.

"Having eight students grade and eight pass is fantastic,” French said.

"I don't think we've had everyone pass for quite a while now, so to have a 100% pass rate is a great achievement.”

All ages were represented in Nanango on Saturday, with kids as young as seven graded alongside adults.

"They go through a process to recall information and then demonstrate that,” French said.

"Some even have to create the processes themselves - the higher belts may have to creat their own routine or demonstrate their own weapons form.

"The idea is to make the student think for themselves rather than recycling the information you're feeding them.”

The grading process runs at the start of every quarter each year, and with new rule changes to sparring students were required to wear a face grill and head guard for the first time.

French said the introduction of extra protection meant students felt the freedom to show their sparring wares without risk of injury.

"It was very aggressive, a lot of head smacking and punching,” French said.

"But the feedback we got from the students was that no one got hurt - the safety gear works really well.”

The South Burnett Karate Association is set to be crowned the top karate club in Queensland at a formal evening on the Gold Coast in April.

But French refuses to rest on his laurels, and believes the key to keeping himself and his students on their toes is constant change.

"We're always implementing new techniques and adding to our program to get better results,” French said.

"It's like making small tweaks to a race car to make it go faster.”

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