Youngster wins top grading to make his grandad proud

An eleven-year-old boy has become an exceptionally young karate black belt through his determination to make his dying grandfather proud.

Maxim Barbosa, of Canute Road in Ore, has been training in karate since the age of five.

He was awarded his black belt on Sunday (October 5) in a two-hour grading session.

Maxim’s grandfather Tony Allen, 67, was diagnosed with a brain tumour about one month ago.

“He’s the proudest grandad ever,” said Kelly Allen, Maxim’s mother and daughter of Tony Allen. “And Maxim is still quite elated. He hasn’t quite come down from his cloud yet.

Tony’s cancer remains aggressive despite an operation, making Maxim’s achievement all the more special.

“Although hard times for Maxim emotionally, he held strong and focused and went to the grade. He did it for his grandad - to make him proud,” said Kelly.

“He’s been training hard for this for a couple of years and I’ve seen the work he’s put in. He has made his family very proud.”

Maxim trains with the SAMA martial arts group three times a week in Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne.

He trains with his sister Valentina, who at nine-years-old is herself a 1st KYU belt holder - the rank below black belt.

SAMA holds children’s karate sessions in many schools across Hastings and St Leonards, some that run all year round.