A real-life karate kid has chopped her way to a black belt – despite suffering from a hearing impairment.
Lucy Collins, nine, from Doxford Park, Sunderland, first took up the martial art aged four.
She took a liking to it after becoming ‘obsessed’ with the Karate Kid films, and started attending Doxford Park Karate Club under the tutelage of Ronnie Branson.
The Mill Hill Primary School pupil still trains there, as well as at the school and St Nicholas Karate Club, under Rebecca Potts, and Redby Karate Club, under Dave Jenkinson.
Her hearing impairment – Lucy wears hearing aids and has severe hearing loss in her left ear, and moderate in her right – presents major challenges, but she continues to overcome them.
Proud parents Sarah, 38, and Ryan, 36, watched on as Lucy achieved her black belt, which has given her a ‘massive confidence boost’. Sarah said: “Before she was five, Lucy became obsessed with the Karate Kid films. She watched one of them one day and said she wanted to do it.
Achieving the black belt has given Lucy a massive confidence boost, and she’s more committed than ever nowSarah Collins
“She couldn’t join a club properly until she was five, but she has never looked back since then.
“On a few occasions, she has said she wanted to quit, but she didn’t and took up extra training this year to get the black belt.
“She really upped her game, and trains four times a week now, which is a massive commitment.
“Achieving the black belt has given her a massive confidence boost, and she’s more committed than ever now.
“She has even said she wants to train karate herself when she’s older.
“Hopefully her story will inspire other children with a hearing impairment.”
She added: “The hearing impairment affects Lucy in everything, including karate, because it impacts on co-ordination and following instructions when she’s fighting.
“She has to work harder at everything to compensate for her hearing loss, but she’s marvellous with everything.
“She has done karate for five years and does struggle at times, but she has never given up.
“We’re immensely proud that she has achieved her black belt. It’s an amazing achievement for her.”