Ten years of hard work paid off when teenager Curtis Pettifer was awarded his junior black belt.

The 15-year-old from Shoebury started training with Okami Martial Arts when he was five and has not looked back.

Now he is aiming to train for his adult black belt grading.

“Curtis cannot imagine life without karate and achieving his black belt is the reward for all the hours he trains,” said proud mum Vicky.

“He started off training once a week and then went to twice a week, but for the past five or six years he has been training three times a week and attending seminars.”

The Shoeburyness High School pupil, whose successes have included winning a gold medal at a county competition, has now set his sights on taking his adult grading once he turns 16.

Karate is a family affair for the Pettifers. Curtis followed in his dad Darren’s footsteps by taking up the sport.

His sister Georgina also took up karate before mum Vicky got involved after taking the family to training three times a week.

Okami Martial Arts has classes in Shoebury and Prittlewell.