A brother and sister have become the youngest siblings in Britain to gain black belts in karate – aged just EIGHT and NINE.
Pint-sized Jac and Millie Cartledge have been awarded the top martial arts grade after just three-and-a-half years training.
The siblings started doing karate at an after-school club but now go to a specialist dojo near their home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.
Incredibly, the pair regularly spar against teenagers and adults twice their size and can now train with weapons including samurai swords and nunchucks.
Eight-year-old Millie said: “I wanted to be a black belt because it meant that I could teach other people.
“I’m excited to learn weapons training and then take my second dan black belt.
“I really wanted to get my black belt, I wanted to be the best that I could be.”
Her brother Jac, who is nine, added: “I’m looking forward to learning how to use the nunchucks in weapons training.
“We go training three times a week and train at home with each other too.”
The siblings, who train three times a week, are now coaching their classmates at karate at the after-school club where they first started.
They are also taking their little sister Beth along who has taken up martial arts at the younger age of just four.
Proud dad Andrew, 53, who lives with his wife Julie, 41, and their three children in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “They started off just going to an after school club and it’s gone from there.
“They do sparring quite a lot. They are up against teenagers aged 15 or 16 and adults.
“Obviously they don’t win but it’s to see their technique and see if they are aggressive and don’t back down and hold their ground.
“My little boy is older so he had that little edge and first but now it is 50-50 between them.
“With most parents it’s stop fighting but with us it’s the opposite.
“They fight each other during karate training and get it out of their system so they are fine at home.
“It’s a great achievement for them to get at such a young age.
“They are both really determined kids, and as far as we are aware, they’re two of the youngest black belts in the country.
“We couldn’t be more proud of them and all the hard work that they have put into it.”
Sensei Bryn Pickett, who owns Shidoshinkai Karate Academy where the youngsters train, said he was proud of his newest black belt additions.
He added: “I’ve been in contact with the British Karate Association and, as far as they are aware, they don’t usually accept anyone for grading until they are 10.
“So Millie and Jac are two of the youngest black belts in the country.
“They are two very determined and hardworking children. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“They did exceptionally well in their grading