For a small guy, it was a big effort

September 26 2013

MEET James Carleton. He may be pint-sized but his talents are anything but.

james carleton

MEET James Carleton. He may be pint-sized but his talents are anything but.

At the age of just nine, James is already the proud owner of a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

James, who lives in Mangotsfield, has been honing his martial art skills since the tender age of four, working his way through the various coloured belts until gaining the prestigious black belt this year.

The Christchurch Junior School pupil attends Newman Martial Arts in Emersons Green which is one of three martial arts clubs run by 4th Dan Lee Newman.

James, who has twin 18-year-old sisters, Rosie and Lucy, is the youngest black belt in Lee’s classes and even joined the adult group last year to prepare him for the tough challenge ahead.

Mum Deb Bryant, 38, said achieving black belt status was no easy feat.

“James was really, really pleased with himself. His club has a young group and an adult group for the over 12s which James joined last year when he was only eight. He looked tiny compared to everyone else.

“He had to do a pre-pre-grading, a pre-grading, two pre-grading training sessions, a 500 word essay and an hour theory test where a lot of it is written in Korean. It was months of really hard work.

“I’m so proud of him. The family worked really hard together and now we’re thrilled that James has been rewarded with his black belt.”

Deb said James has no intention of slowing down.  She said: “He’s now what they call a 1st Dan and you’re not supposed to do your 2nd Dan until you’re 16 but James can do star gradings every year so if he keeps up with those he could be a 2nd Dan by the time he’s 14, which is really young.”

And it seems Tae Kwon Do is just one of the many talents James possesses. As well as playing football for Mangotsfield United under 10s he is a keen cricketer, playing for Frenchay Cricket Club. He also was part of his school’s cricket team which won this year’s Year 4 Regional County Championships.

Deb said: “James is really happy boy who loves his sport and has lots of friends. He absolutely loves football. He would love to play for Arsenal.”

Dad Shaun Carleton, 49, said: “We are really pleased with his determination and perseverance. For a small guy, he made a really big effort.”

James said: “It feels really good to be a black belt. It makes me feel proud.”