AT a recent national training camp, several members of Barry Kyokushin karate club attended to support their assistant instructor Rhian Evans, aged 22, in her test for one of kyokushin’s toughest tests, the coveted Kyokushin Black Belt.

The club have only promoted 12 students to black belt in 40 years, showing how hard it actually is to achieve this high level, however, Rhian has been training very hard for the last six years at Barry Kyokushin and during that time has won several tournament titles in both Kata and Knockdown (Full Contact) fighting.

Training from 6am through to 10pm for 2 days and then completing the grading part of the exam which lasted three hours and then finally enduring a 20 man Kumite (fight). Considered the pinnacle test of strength and endurance Rhian, being only 5ft 2 and weighing in at only 55kg, would have to fight against mostly heavyweight males.

Barry Kyokushin’s chief instructor, Sensei Phill Sedgmond said: “We have a distinct lack of female lightweight fighters in our organisation, but thankfully Rhian was very much prepared for this as in our adult class that Rhian trains in, we have mostly heavyweight fighters that trained with and fought with Rhian on the run up to this grading.”

Rhian began her kumite test with an England Instructor who was a 3rd dan and a heavyweight fighter, Rhian stood her ground and with a great deal of skill and accuracy won this fight, and a further 7 rounds after this.

Rhian managed to knockout one English heavyweight with a perfectly executed head kick. Towards the end of her test Rhian became fatigued and began losing a few rounds but pulled it back at the very end with another 2 wins.

Rhian won 17 rounds of her 20 fights. An outstanding achievement.

Following this test and the last session of the camp it was then revealed that Rhian had passed her grade and was now the 13th Member of Barry Kyokushinin 40 years to achieve the very prestigious black belt.

The now Senpai Rhian (Senpai being the titles for 1st Dan Black belt) sets her sights on continuing to compete internationally while she considers her next promotion to Nidan (2nd Dan).

Sensei Phill said: "This is a major milestone for Barry Kyokushin, Senpai Rhian now enters the history books of the club. Black belt is not an easy grade to achieve and there hasn’t been one in our club for over a Decade. I’m exceptionally proud of Senpai Rhian, she is an excellent role model for our younger female students.”

Barry Kyokushin currently train out of Barry YMCA, lessons are Mondays and Wednesday’s from 6pm to 9pm and have separate classes for beginners and adults. For more info call 01446 408974 or visit or find them on Facebook.