Black belts at eight: kickboxing kids impress

TWO kickboxers have gained their black belts – at the tender age of eight.

Wednesday, 28th January 2015, 12:00 pm
Koby Craig (left) and Lathan Goodman with trainer Ed Craig

Koby Craig and Lathan Goodman, who train at Westgate Leisure in Chichester, are trained by Ed Craig, a third-degree black belt in kickboxing and a first degree in traditional kung fu with Zheng Dao Lo Martial Arts Academy.

The young duo took up Chinese kickboxing aged just three and have become the youngest to reach black belt in their club’s history.

Koby, who lives in Nutbourne, and Lathan, who has recently moved from Chichester to Havant but still attends Parklands School in the city, had to pass several different sections on their way to the award

These were:

* Technique – kicks, punches, guard and body movement – literally hundreds of kicks ranging from basic to jumping, spinning combination kicks and multiple attack and defensive hand work.

* Pad work – demonstrating their moves on a padded target.

* Sparring – The boys did five two-minute rounds against each other demonstrating all their skills, heart, bravery and technique in a controlled and safe environment.

* Breaking – They had to end the test with the breaking of a special martial arts tile.

The boys now join the elite black belt section of the ZDL school which has seen British, European and World Champions within its ranks in disciplines including Kickboxing, Kung Fu & Tai Chi.

Ed Craig, who has trained under the renowned master Omar El-Kilany for more than 15 years said: “I’m quite astounded how well these two both did at such a young age – even a fully-fit adult would seriously struggle to complete this junior grade.

“We teach our students to only use martial arts as a last resort in self defence and it has been an honour to see these two young boys grow into confident and skilful martial artists.”