Dedicated Ella is a real belter

Ella Heyes, 9, from Thornton, has become the youngest Tae Kwon Do student in the UK to achieve a second degree black belt. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday October 15, 2016.
Ella Heyes, 9, from Thornton, has become the youngest Tae Kwon Do student in the UK to achieve a second degree black belt. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday October 15, 2016.
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Hi-yah! A Fylde coast girl has become one of the UK’s youngest ever martial arts champs.

Nine-year-old Ella Heyes, of Chequers Way, Thornton, has become one of the country’s youngest ever second-degree black belts in tae kwon do.

The Baines Primary School pupil was awarded her new belt earlier this month, two years after becoming the UK’s youngest tae kwon do black belt at the age of seven.

Her dad, Northern Tae Kwon Do instructor Lee, said: “We are very proud of what she’s achieved and her level is outstanding. Some of the kicks that she does, and her fitness and flexibility and technique are excellent for someone her age.”

Ella took up tae kwon do at the age of three after being inspired by her dad’s work.

She now practices five times a week at Waterloo Road Methodist Church and Highfield Humanities College in Blackpool, and has kicked and flipped her way to victory in tournaments with children almost twice her age.

Lee said: “She was always keen to do what her dad does. Fomr the age of three whenever I went to teach my classes she would join in. She just took to it naturally, which I was over the moon about.

“She must be one of the youngest, if not the youngest second degree black belt in the country.”

In the world of martial arts, a second degree black belt is a rank above a regular black belt. A fighter must undergo two years of dedicated training after being awarded their black belt to qualify for the exam.

Ella said: “I had to learn nine different patterns and then do a routine of kicks and punches and holds.

“It was really difficult because I’m the youngest there and they expect us to be really good. I want to teach tae kwon do when I grow up and go to the Olympics.”

People who are interested in learning tae kwon do can contact Lee online at www.northerntaekwondo.co.uk.

A free taster session has been offered to people who mention Ella’s story in The Gazette.