LEE Hardy is the first adult student of Widnes Karate Club to graduate as a black belt.
The senior section was formed about 12 months ago by instructor Rob Eaton, who is also assistant to Matt Edwards on the junior side of the Shukokai Karate Union club.
Hardy has become a first dan after almost five years of training and views his successful grading in York-shire as 'the end of an apprenticeship'.
Living in Runcorn, he works for Halton Borough Council as a contracts manager in children and young people's services.
He said: 'It has been a bit of a long haul.
'The grading itself was something of an ordeal - it was an eight-hour assessment up in Sheffield, covering all aspects of the syllabus.
'The fact I am nearing 40 as well makes it all the more worthwhile. I have probably never been fitter than I am now.'
The adult club meets at Dawson's Dance Studio and Social Club in Lunts Heath Road on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (8pm-9pm) and is always looking for new members.
The juniors class is at All Saints Primary School, Hough Green Road also on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm-7.30pm.
Eaton had been due to take his second dan grading at the same time Hardy tackled his first-dan exam but injury forced a postponement until November.
Former Runcorn Cricket Club player Hardy said: 'Passing my first dan puts a plus mark on Rob's club and as a personal achievement, I am over the moon about it.
'It is kind of an apprenticeship served - training is on-going now for taking my second dan in a couple of years.'