SK2000 karate instructor Kirsty McAlpine has become the first female senior black belt to be awarded the coveted third dan after passing the grading exam recently.
Kirsty, who teaches classes in Cellardyke alongside her partner and instructor Steve Mackay, devoted months of training to prepare for the gruelling hour long test of which the same criteria applies to women and men.
The final physical grading within the SK2000 Karate association consists of combinations, stamina exercises, advanced kata and their applications, punch bag work and free sparring.
No allowances are given for error and consistent training and preparation is the key to success.
Students must meet the required standard of each category to earn a pass and it’s this which makes a black belt within the Shotokan 2000 Association such a valuable achievement.
Kirsty, who has trained in karate since she was seven under chief instructor James Ford seventh dan and competed in tournaments throughout her career, now coaches students.
On her success, Kirsty said: “Without the time and effort of the instructors at the clubs I was training at, this result would never be possible.
“People gave up their time to guide me and pass on their knowledge and experience and it gladly paid off but I can’t remember a time when I felt so nervous.
“I didn’t want to let anyone down”
Steve spent months preparing Kirsty for the big day, knowing the sacrifices she had made, the dedicated training and sometimes times of frustration she had endured.
He said: “I am proud of Kirsty and what she has achieved.
“It’s no mean feat to do what she has accomplished.
“Nothing short of 100 percent can be performed on this grading.
“Others have tried and failed at this last hurdle and there are no allowances for sentiment at this level if it doesn’t go to plan.
“It simply comes down to whether you are good enough on the day.
“I never doubted Kirsty could do it because I saw her determination to prove herself as the first senior female third dan months prior to the grading.
“It meant everything to her and it’s an honour she truly deserves.”