She’s our black beauty

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Unassuming 10-year-old Robyn Blackstock can smash through blocks of wood and throw grown men to the floor. 

And, despite her mild-mannered nature, the Queenstown Primary pupil has just become the youngest girl in the resort to have a black belt in taekwondo. 

Robyn recently achieved the prestigious belt after a gruelling two-and-a-half-hour session where she had to run for 30 minutes, perform 45 moves from memory, spar with adult opponents in semi- and full-contact rounds and kick through eight 2.5cm-thick boards. 

Queenstown Taekwondo chief instructor Brian Fitzgerald says it normally takes someone five years to reach black belt level. 

“She is only 10 but she’s done the grading with other seniors, and done it very well, to be honest. She’s a wee bit of a sponge … she’s quite an achiever.” 

Fitzgerald had to send a video of her performance to the World Taekwondo Federation in Korea for authentication – they were “equally impressed”. 

“Her level of ability is right up there. She certainly knows what’s going on,” Fitzgerald adds. 

“The reason why she’s so good is she’s not the sort of person to learn a couple of things and then go away and wait till next week – she goes home and she practices what she learns.” 

Robyn, who began properly learning the Korean martial art four years ago in her former home of Glasgow, Scotland, says she enjoys the “active and fun” sport. 

“I like doing it because the achievements can be pretty amazing,” she says. 

“It’s pretty special because not many people are this young and have a black belt in New Zealand. 

“I’d really like to represent NZ in the Youth Olympics one day.”