We first met Eleanor and her mum Victoria when they did our #LottieInstaTakeover back in May!
Since her takeover, we at Lottie HQ have been incredibly inspired by Eleanor's story of how Kawaii Karate Lottie inspired her to step outside her comfort zone and begin Karate training!
"A year ago my five-year-old started karate lessons, feeling encouraged by Kawaii Karate Lottie. In a year, she has achieved four belts, and even learnt some Japanese, but more than that she's gained self-confidence and a belief that she can do anything she puts her mind to. And it all started with Lottie..."
We recently heard from Victoria that Eleanor earned herself a new belt, and wanted to find out more!
"Eleanor has trained with Zen-Shin Martial Arts Association for a whole year now. At her club grading happens every three months with a pre-grading session as well to make sure students are up to the required standard. Grading is taken very seriously; all students must bring in their licence books and wear their gi and current belt. Sensei John Richards (8th Dan), the Chief Instructor, is there in his official World Karate Association (WKA) uniform and is assisted by some of the club's other instructors."
Eleanor with Sensei, John Richards at the Zen-Shin Studios
"There are lots of other children at grading, so there are some parts that are done together (like checking some basic moves) and then the children wait for their group's turn. Each belt colour has different requirements. Sensei assesses the children based on their individual skill level and awards them a pass, merit or distinction. If they do really well they might even skip some grades, which surprised Eleanor when she skipped a couple last time! Grading takes about 90 minutes and then the parents are invited into the dojo to see certificates and belts awarded to everyone."
Eleanor was a white/green belt before this grading and was very happy to receive her white/purple belt with a pass this time around. The next belt she is aiming for will be her white/brown."
Eleanor pictured alongside Sensei John Richards, with her well-earned Certificate and new White/Purple Belt!
"Two of the main parts of karate training are Kata and Kumite. Kata is a sequence of choreographed movements, which can be performed individually or in pairs. Kumite is sparring or fighting. Both can be done at competition level and Eleanor's club is busy putting together a Kumite squad at the moment. She went along to some extra training because she is keen to join the squad. Her favourite part of training is always when she gets to work with Sensei! Being part of the squad will be great for Eleanor's confidence and will help her get even better at the moves she already knows."
Huge thanks to Eleanor's mum, Victoria Maus for writing this amazingly informative piece for us, and for updating us on Eleanor's progress. Also huge Congratulations to Eleanor from all of us here at Lottie HQ on your new belt!
We love to hear stories like these, it really inspires us to continue the work we do and we hope to empower more girls just like Eleanor in future!