Strabane's O'Kane family get karate black belts

image captionThe O'Kanes got their black belts on the same day

Meet the O'Kanes from Strabane in County Tyrone, a family you wouldn't want to fall out with.

They have just broken new ground by being awarded their coveted black belts - all on the same day.

It took seven years of hard work, but it all paid off for karate enthusiast Damien and his four children.

"The day of the grading is the day that you do it. It doesn't matter how much training you do beforehand.

"We were all very nervous for each other and the hope was that we'd all get it. In the end we did and I was delighted and relieved."

"I'm very proud of each and everyone of them," he said.

Declan, a local businessman, joined the karate club Strabane Wado-Ryu to spend more time with his children.

Over the years, the family trained and worked out together and supported each other when the going got tough.


Brona, who's just 12 years old, was the youngest member of the family to get the belt.

"It was hard because we trained every day, sometimes twice a day, and for me to get the black belt at 12 is, I feel, a great achievement."

Her sisters Sinead, 14, and 16-year-old Ciara said it was an "amazing" achievement.

"It's a good way of keeping fit and teaches you good discipline. In school you've got all the pressure of exams so when you get home you can do some karate and forget about everything else in your life," Ciara said.

image captionThe O'Kane family are put through their paces at Strabane Wado-Ryu

The eldest, Damien, 19, said it was fantastic.

"We worked very hard together and it just goes to show you can do sport together as a family and achieve something together. It means a lot more to me to have all of them with and behind me," he said.

Martin Devlin is the club instructor at Strabane Wado-Ryu. He said the achievement was "unprecedented".

"It was great. I've been training for 35 years and I've never heard of the one family getting their black belts on the same day.

"They put in the hard work over the past six-and-a-half years and it's a great boost for the club," he said.