MOST karate mums are happy enough to watch “junior” rise through the ranks from the comfort of a chair. Not so Marlie Feeney.
Marlie, 37, has received her black belt, a week before 13-year-old son Jarrod received his at the Ballarat Goju Ryu Karate Club.
It has taken six years for the mother-son pair earned the iconic karate grading. She says watching her son learn the traditional martial art “from the comfort of a couch” encouraged her to take the first step along the pathway towards a black belt.
“I brought Jarrod along when he was in grade one. I sat back and watched, mainly sitting on the couch,” Marlie explains. “Four or five months into it, I thought it might be a way to get more exercise in my life.
“The more I got more involved in it, the more I got involved at the club, and the more Jarrod also got into it, the more I did.
“Becoming a black belt has kind of crept up on me, though.”Marlie had her black belt grading in Mt Gambier and then participated in grading the juniors at the Ballarat club a week later.
Ballarat Goju Ryu chief instuctor Mark Azzopardi describes Marlie and Jarrod as “fine leaders within the club”.
“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to attain a black belt and it is fantastic that Marlie and Jarrod could achieve this together,” he says.
Jarrod, a student at Mount Clear College, will compete at state level this year, Azzopardi adds.