TWO members of the Whitsunday Kyokushin Karate Club have received one of the highest honours in the sport.
Ray Hutchinson and Belinda Woodham were promoted to the level of Sandan – the third stage of the black belt – giving each of them their title of Sensei.
This means the pair are now able to conduct training sessions to teach the art of the sport to aspiring youngsters.
It also qualifies them to referee national and international matches.
Hutchinson began his career in the sport back in 1978 and has fought at national titles in the past.
The karate specialist said it was very rewarding to finally be acknowledged as a Sensei.
“It's a mixture of relief and excitement,” he said.
“I have been doing it for years and it's a reward for all the blood, sweat and tears.”
Kyokushin is a full contact style of karate, similar to that in the modern day Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Wayne Hinschen is a Shidan – fifth stage on black belt - and has been the only Sensei in the Whitsundays teaching the form of martial arts in both Cannonvale and Proserpine.
He will now be joined by his two students.
Hinschen started training Woodham back in 1986 and said it was very rewarding to see one of his students progess to such a high level in the sport.
Woodham has shown great determination in her years and was overwhelmed with the recognition.
“It's like a dream has come true,” she said.
“I never thought I'd make this level.
"I feel really rewarded after years and years of training.”
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