Rare feat by Kirkcaldie siblings

BLACK BELTS: Andrew, Kimberley and Cassie Kirkcaldie perform taekwondo.
BLACK BELTS: Andrew, Kimberley and Cassie Kirkcaldie perform taekwondo.

Saturday was rather special for Temuka's Kirkcaldie family with three siblings passing their taekwondo black belts.

Cassie, Kim and Andrew all withstood the rigours of the 2-hour grading, that started with 100 pushups and got gradually tougher.

Their success means the Kirkcaldie family now has four black belts with father Steve successful 2 years ago.

Cassie, 16, and Kim, 15, were first to take up the sport six years ago while Andrew, 12, started a year later.

They admitted they followed their father's suggestion to try it out but he put no pressure on them to continue, and there were no fights at home as they progressed through the different colour belts.

The three siblings agreed the hardest part of the grading was fighting 40 black belts for 1 minutes each at the end of the grading.

Kim said it took a lot of training but she was very happy to have gained the black belt.

Andrew said breaking a board 18mm thick was also a challenge but he managed it at his first attempt.

His sisters were not so lucky but eventually managed it.

Cassie said a number of her friends came and watched the grading.

"They shed a few tears as we were fighting, and so did mum at the end."

The trio were assessed by three, 4th dan, black belts.

When asked how they celebrated, Kim said they just went to bed and slept.

Cassie and Kim had put other sports aside to concentrate on their grading but Andrew continued to play hockey and is the goalkeeper for the South Canterbury primary schools' Hatch Cup team.

Timaru Taekwondo head instructor Chris Bennett said he was extremely proud of their efforts.

"They are not big frames and taking on 40 black belts is not easy and they did not go easy on them.

"Those grading have to fight the black belts as they are the only ones that know the journey.

"They have worked really hard and bruises they have are called badges here."

Bennett said it was rare to have three from one family grade at the one time, and have a fourth in the family.

"We are a pretty good family club, it is something we pride ourselves on."

Timaru Taekwondo have 80 active members including a junior club of around 20.

Bennett said the bonus was they had a good number of black belts to help out at training.

The Timaru Herald