PINT-sized powerhouse Millie Maund is breaking boards as easily as benchmarks in the Olympic sport of taekwondo after earning her black belt at the age of 10.
The Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College student came through more than six hours of sparring, self defence, board breaking, one-step structured sparring and patterns, which are complex set movements, over three weekly sessions to gain the black belt at Universal Tae Kwon Do Academy in Wickham.
Maund became the youngest player to earn the coveted belt at the academy and she is believed to be one of the youngest to do it in Australia.
The Merewether tyro's mother, Kim Maund, said there were reports of children as young as eight reaching the level in the United Kingdom and others in Australia also aged 10.
The achievement follows Millie's then-Australian record of earning a yellow belt at age four.
Her brother Winston is also closing in on the black belt at age eight.
He has just reached his red belt and is three grades away from black. Winston also reached yellow belt level at four.
Their instructor, Ben Capotosto, said the pair would move into regular contests at age 12 or 13, although Millie had already shown her skills on the mat in competition.
Last year she won two gold, three silver and one bronze medal at the Hunter Festival of Sport.
Capotosto said the siblings were heading for more success in their sport if they continued their improvement.
"I can see the development over the years, they've got so much confidence now," he said. "Their self-esteem and co-ordination has grown and they are very strong-minded."
He said Millie had shown great skill, flexibility, speed and power to secure the black belt.
"There's sparring, self-defence, patterns, board-breaking and a combination of those things. Going for a black belt, they have to show a combination of those things and be more acrobatic and complex in their movements," he said.
The Maunds trained two nights a week in the full range of taekwondo skills, including the use of weaponry, but the academy's focus was on preparation for competition, Capotosto said.
"They have to complete a number of patterns and they have to improve their concentration span to remember all the movements, so it's not easy."
Kim Maund, who secured a black belt working alongside her daughter, said Millie "absolutely loves taekwondo" and she was keen to go far as she could with the discipline.