FOURTEEN members of the Mossley-based Ken Yu Kai Karate Club took part in the sport’s national championships in Bury, and all collected medals.
It was a successful return to competitive action after an absence of almost two years, and for some of the youngsters it was their first-ever competition in both kata and kumate.
And the youngest medallist was four-year-old Ivy Hurst, who picked up a silver in the kick master section on her competitive debut.
Brothers Zak and Max Moreland, aged 14 and 17, were also successful with Zak collecting individual and team gold and Max an individual bronze.
The pair, who both achieved their black belts in May, are also assistant instructors at the club, helping to coach the youngest members.
The full list of medal winners, who all live in Mossley was Myla Woodward, 5, gold; Brooke Woodward, 9, gold and silver; Danielle Tranter, 9, two silver; Jasmine Williams, 14, two gold and silver; Max Moreland, 17, bronze; Zak Moreland, 14, two gold; Jacob Hirst, 14, gold and bronze; Rowan Williams, 5, bronze; Ivy Hurst, 4, silver; Isaac Hurst, 10, gold and bronze; Bethany Dawson, 10, gold and bronze; Olivia Hunt, 11, bronze; Thomas Pattison, 12, two bronze; Joshua Dawson, 14, two bronze.
Instructor Michelle Knowles, who lives in Mossley, was delighted, saying: “For a lot of those taking part, it was the first time in two years they had entered a competition, and for others it was their first-ever one.
“We usually take a bigger group to the nationals, but this time it was smaller because of Covid, but I am over the moon how well we did.
“Covid put a massive stop to our activities, and we were restricted to training and in-house competitions until the nationals.”
Ken Yu Kai Karate Club, which is based at the Yorkshire Ward Conservative Club, was formed in the 1980s by Paul Knowles, Michelle’s father, who still owns and runs it.
Michelle, 32, who teaches in Hyde, took up karate aged three and is now instructor.
She spoke about the challenges posed by the pandemic, explaining: “We initially did Zoom classes to keep everyone involved.
“And once we were able to meet again, we did so outdoors in the car park in small groups.”
The club has 53 students from the age of three upwards and has maintained numbers throughout the pandemic.
Indeed, the profile of karate was increased markedly when it was included in the Olympic Games for the first time in Tokyo, though Michelle said sadly it was just a one-off.
Michelle underlined this by explaining there are 36 tinies wanting to join the club.
“We have a huge waiting list but, because of Covid, sadly we can’t accept any more,” she said.