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Dec 23, 2009

Grace Primary Student is youngest female to earn a black belt

Story PictureA nine year old student of Grace Primary School has distinguished herself in karate. Halle Spence the is first youngest girl in Belize to earn the black belt, quite a feat for the student who endured several years of rigorous training. But Halle is no ordinary girl and when Duane Moody caught up with her, she demonstrated her skills quiet aptly by putting down her sensei…

Duane Moody, Reporting
Nine year old Halle Nicole Spence is the youngest female to have attained a first degree black belt in martial arts in the country. At the awards ceremony, twenty-one apprentices of the Martial Arts Academy advanced to different levels. Halle says it took her four years of training to acquire the recognition.

Halle Spence, Black Belt Recipient
“It makes me feel more powerful any time you go to a higher one.”

Duane Moody
“What did it take for you to get it?”

Halle Spence
“Well you just have to have the basics; you have to have your katas, your kumete, and everything else. You have to have the ranking katas and then you have to show it to the sensei so they can judge you.”

The tests involve a series of theoretical and practical exercises to assess dedication, respect, cooperation, discipline, attitude and brotherhood—all which Halle mastered.

Halle Spence
“My advice would be to do it and it teaches you discipline and just not a thing that you have to fight and beat up somebody.”

Leon Guild, Chief Instructor, Martial Arts Academy
“We push your physical capacities to the limit, the routine is rough and from doing a rough routine, you are empowered mentally, psychologically and you have what it takes to face your day to day challenges. Of course the physical is mostly what we are accustomed to seeing, but the mental aspect of it is developed after years; that is the more long term perk that you get after training in martial arts.”

According to Chief Instructor, Leon Guild, the dojo teaches techniques in empty hand combat, which is karate and weapon training.

Leon Guild
“Our style comprises of seven different major Asian styles of self defense compacted together to make one style. To list them all: we have judo, tae kwan do, Shotokan karate, jujitsu, kickboxing, kung fu apart from the weapons.”

But while Halle appeared quiet, she was not timid on the mats when she demonstrated some kata techniques and went into combat against her sensei.

Leon Guild
“Of course she would be vulnerable to someone who is adult and bigger than she is, but maybe at least for now, the bullies at school are in trouble because she has been champion here in the country. She has been competing for a while.”

Halle Spence
“I think I’ve gained more power.”

Duane Moody, reporting for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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