Hard won... West Otago Karate Club sensei Gabriel Phillips congratulates George Horrell (left) and Sophie King on achieving their Karate Do black belts. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

How many karate black belts does a young man need?

Two if George Horrell’s example is to be followed.

At the weekend, the 19-year-old achieved his second black belt for the year in the Goju Ryu style of karate.

Earlier this month he and Sophie King (16), of the West Otago Karate Club, achieved their Karate Do black belts.

Horrell said he had not planned to carry on with the sport after he achieved his brown belt.

“Since I broke my nose back in 2017 I decided not to do fighting,” Horrell said.

“Then I had a change of plans and decided I had to go for it.”

A trip last year to Japan where he trained with some of the top karate sensei in the world helped persuade him to carry on and get his black belt.

He said it was good to achieve his goal.

He had been learning karate for 12 years.

Sophie said she had been learning karate for four years and was also pleased to get her black belt.

“I think it is a pretty big achievement,” Sophie said.

“It’s been one of my goals for ages.”

She found the sport very enjoyable.

“It gives me something to work towards and set goals.

“I enjoy training with friends and learning new things.”

She hoped to get her second black belt in Goju Ryu style next year.

Sensei Gabriel Phillips said it was a great achievement.

“[I am] so, so proud of them both,” Mr Phillips said.

Other spectators might have found the gradings a nerve-racking watch but he believed his pupils would do well.

“They’re confident in what they’re doing.”

The club members planned to celebrate the pair’s achievements with a barbecue, he said.Running sneakersNike