Whether it is used in sparring or forms, learning an armed martial art are an impressive show of skill.
Samurai sword-yielding Fatiha Begum has made history by becoming the youngest Muslim schoolgirl to achieve a Blackbelt in Kobudo Jutso – the ancient Japanese discipline training in weapons.
But for this gritty 13-year-old, already a Blackbelt in Kickboxing and a Brownbelt in Muay Thai, securing a prestigious Blackbelt in Weapons Stage 6 means she’s the first person from Oldham to achieve such an honour in its 40-year history.
The development of weaponry skills is often the next step taken after a martial artist feels they have advanced to a certain point or even mastered a particular fighting style.
So for Fatiha Begum, star student at the popular DEMAA Martial Arts Academy based in central Oldham, this was something she really, really wanted to achieve.
Speaking to Asian Express, Fatiha says: “Adding Weapons has been great for gaining additional expertise and adding further discipline into my training routine.
“It has been really hard work, but I love training in the martial arts and now I’ve made it!
“I’m the first ever student from the academy to reach 1st Dan in Kobudo Jutso.
“I thank my instructor and my most of all my dad – I couldn’t have achieved this without all his support and encouragement.”
Extremely proud dad Shiblu said: “Fatiha has worked and trained so very hard since taking up martial arts at DEMAA seven years ago.
“She initially took it up to help with self control and because she’d suffered some bullying at school.
“Now she competes in tournaments all over the United Kingdom.”
DEMMA Martial Arts Academy’s Grandmaster Soke Dr Dave Terry PhD said: “It’s the first ever grading of it kind for our academy.
“This is a great moment for us all who is associated with the club. Fatiha’s dad equally deserves credit.”