BERNADETTE Luka has become the first female back belt in Ballarat Karate Club’s 48-year history.
She is also the first female to be elevated to the rank of first degree black belt in the traditional Okinawan martial arts style of karate in Australia.
The achievement comes after seven years of practice.
Luka took the examination in front of 18 black belts of the club, chaired by ninth dan and chief instructor Barry Packham and seventh dan Wayne Reddrop.
As is the tradition of the club for admission into black belt ranks, the veto of any one of these 18 panel members would have resulted in Luka not receiving the award.
The unanimous decision also saw her rewarded with the coveted dragon emblem of the club, recognising the determination in facing the 16-person fighting line-up.
The examination also included a written submission on the history of the club and the karate style.