Martial arts students earn black belt honours

Graham Ritchie and Patrick Bourdier
Graham Ritchie and Patrick Bourdier

A pair of students from Sussex’s Kenagi Academy of Martial Arts have achieved black belts, with one claiming he has “accomplished one of my life time goals.”

Graham Ritchie of Billingshurst and Patrick Bourdier from Horsham, both 49, were awarded the status after a gruelling five-hour grading at Southwater Junior School.

Graham said: “It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

“It took me several years of hard work to earn this, but I’m hugely proud to say I have accomplished one of my life time goals.”

The exam took place on Sunday July 7 and involved a number of categories - including Graham and Patrick defending themselves against an attack from three existing black belts, defending knife attacks and explaining the technical side of their karate moves.

Sensai Brian Redman of Kenagi Academy, who judged the students along with other black belts, said: “We are extremely proud of both Patrick and Graham for their success in achieving such a difficult level of skill.

“The pair have trained with the Kenagi Academy for many years and have earned every inch of their belts.”