The room is filled with a staunch smell of sweat and blood. There is a blur of kicks, chops and punches all over the room. In the middle is Brooke Randall, 15, of Hickory who recently received her black belt in karate.
Jimmy Randall, her father, began practicing karate in 1984. His dedication to the art inspired his daughter to start practicing karate at the young age of six. Four days a week, Brooke acts as a student of karate for an hour, and the other three days she practices, as any dedicated student should. Her dedication shows with her advancement through 13 belts in only nine years from Core Martial Arts Academy in Newton, under the instruction of Paul Langford.
“When I was smaller I watched and started doing kicks,” Brooke said.
According to her father, from the black belt there are two paths a karate student can take. Karate black belts that wish to continue as students can advance through the “kyu” ranking system, and karate black belts that wish to become instructors themselves, can advance through the “dan” ranking system. Brooke is the first level of dan, and her instructor, Langford, is in the sixth level. Brooke earned her first ranking by teaching both student and adult classes eight hours per week.
To read more of this story, pick up the Tuesday edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.