A 12 year old Otley girl is celebrating reached a new level of expertise in martial arts.

Katherine Howard has been training hard at Otley Ju-jitsu Club for the past eight years, gaining her Black Belt when she was just ten.

Her continued dedication has now been rewarded again with a Black Belt 1st Dan - which head instructor Clare Hooker says is thoroughly deserved.

Katherine said: "I've been training for eight years, three times a week, and am very happy to have come this far with a lot of help from my instructors Clare and Mike Hooker, who are both 6th Dan Black Belts.

"I started in the 'kid-jitsu' class where I learnt the basic skills of ju-jitsu, and after a short while joined the low junior class. This is when I learnt how to throw.

"I eventually got to Brown Belt and was one of the top in the class, and I was about seven when Clare and Mike asked me if I would like to move up to the high junior class.

"They said it would get me further in working to get my Black Belt and it certainly did!

"I got my Black Belt when I was ten and, with continuous training, I have now got my 1st Dan."

She says the sport also brings wider benefits, in addition to those of improved fitness and self-defence skills.

She added: "Ju-jitsu has helped me in many ways including self- discipline, concentration and team work.

"I hope to continue for as long as I can, and who knows where it could take me!"

Otley Ju-jitsu Club trains at Otley Health And Martial Arts Centre, on Orchard Gate - for more details call (01943) 968002 or visit http://otleyhealthandmartialarts.vpweb.co.uk/ .