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Hong Kong grannies awarded taekwondo black belts

HONG KONG (AFP) -- Too old to learn taekwondo? Not for a group of Hong Kong grandmothers who became black belts after demonstrating their kicking and punching prowess, according to a report Wednesday.

The seven women, aged 63 to 74, received the top ranking in the Korean martial art after passing a test at the southern Chinese city’s first taekwondo class for the elderly, the South China Morning Post reported.

The main challenge, said the eldest woman in the group, was not physical but mental as they had to memories all the moves. The test included standard kicks and four pre-set patterns of attack and defensive movements.

“Luckily, we have a very nice classmate who wrote down every pattern in detail,” Lam Sai-mui, 74, told the Post, saying the written notes made it easier for her to practice the punching and kicking every day.

“I was very lazy, and afraid that I couldn’t learn something new,” said Lam, who said she had a sore foot problem for a long time but the pain was gone after she took up the taekwondo class last year.

Taekwondo has different-colored belts to indicate skill levels, ranging from white for beginners to black for masters.

Chan Pik-chau, the chief instructor of the Hong Kong Practical Taekwondo Association said he was inspired to set up the elderly program after seeing similar classes in South Korea, where taekwondo is the national sport.