NINE-year-old Buckden Primary School pupil Rhys Whittington has become one of the country's youngest black belts. Rhys, who began training in the martial art at the age of four, had to demonstrate his knowledge of the 11 katas or techniques, kumite or sparring and the history of shotokan karate during a gruelling assessment in front of senior black belt instructors. Frank Nehzadpournia, who coaches Rhys at the Actikarate club in Everton, said: "Rhys has shown fantastic commitment at such a young age to achieve his black belt. In the assessment he showed real dedication and application to become one of the youngest black belts in the country. He has a very bright future ahead of him.