TO crown an outstanding year, seven senior grades at the Otley and Harrogate karate centres achieved promotion at the Shukokai/shito-ryu Karate Alliance black belt grading in Cheshire.

After 15 years studying karate, the top honour of the day, a fourth degree black belt, was awarded to 21-year-old James Cape of Leeds Beckett University.

Following his success at the recent World Union of Karate Federation’s world championships in Dundee, Cape is now ranked in the top three of world karate.

A grade below Cape, it was a family affair for four of the karate club’s senior instructors.

In the Hofman household, both 57-year-old Mike Hofman and his 21-year-old daughter Natalie successfully achieved the rank of third degree black belt.

Likewise, in the Lord household, 17-year old Max and 20-year old brother Cameron, also showed their skills and were similarly promoted to the rank of third degree black belt.

At the first level of black belt, first dan honours went to two of the centre’s talented 11-year-old students, Jack Hartis of Otley and Henry Hull of Harrogate.

The karate centre’s chief instructor, ninth degree black belt master Ken Gee, praised their success: "I am thrilled with the black belt achievement of all seven of my senior students.

"Since I founded the Otley and Harrogate karate centres 48 years ago, I’ve had the greatest of pleasure in shaping a huge number of local people into some of the most talented karate students in the world.

"With this latest achievement I have written another chapter in the club’s ever expanding record book, a flawless 100 per cent student pass rate, at all levels of black belt over the past 32 years."