For some, a sport is something you partake in at a young age for thrills, or something you do to boost your social interaction, but for three Mudgee Martial Arts students, their love and passion for karate has transformed into something more.
Logan Birchall, Nicholas Hopson and Jacqueline Spice began their karate journey at a variety of young ages, and while the years have been long, on Wednesday, July 10, the trio were awarded with black belts.
22-year-old Birchall says achieving a black belt is something he has been hoping to achieve for close to two decades, and admits it's one of his greatest achievements.
"It's a really proud achievement of mine that nobody is going to take away, it's sort of been 17 years coming," he said.
I've got a few stripes and some fancy writing on my belt which makes it all excellent. It's a true source of pride.Logan Birchall
While Logan is currently attending university in Sydney, he makes the effort to travel back to Mudgee as often as possible because 'it's worth it'.
"Whenever I can, I come back to train because it's definitely worth it," he said.
As for 17-year-old Nicholas, he began karate after a demonstration at his school during his primary years, and since then, he hasn't stopped loving it.
"I started when I was in kindergarten because one of the students from here [Mudgee Martial Arts] did a presentation at our school and I fell in love with it," he said.
The Mudgee High School student says while the sport keeps him fit, it's the respect and discipline he gets from karate that has held his interest long enough to receive a black belt.
"I love the passion and respect we get from it, you've got to be really dedicated," Hopson said.
"I hope to keep progressing through the ranks."
"It's been a journey, one that I'm quite proud of actually," she said.
After having a brief break from the sport, Spice kicked her karate career back into action at age 25 and says while being a parent occupied a lot of her time, she found importance in taking on a personal journey.
"When we all finish school we often become adults and get working, we invest a lot of our time in our children and we forget about ourselves," she said.
"It's been an important journey for me because it's the one thing in my life I've committed to, stayed with, achieved and improved in."
It's only then when you understand why you're doing it that you appreciate the sport more.Jacqueline Spice
The Mudgee Martial Arts teacher says achieving her fourth black belt has taught her more than just a combination of moves.
"When I was a junior grade it was all about the physical fitness, being challenged and discipline, but it was when I became a black belt I realised what it actually meant to have the grade," Spice said.
"Going from my first black to my fourth has been a different journey, it's been more mentally challenging because you start understanding why you do these things.
"It's a sport that you never stop learning, you think you've learnt it all but then there's another facet you just didn't realise.
"It's only then when you understand why you're doing it that you appreciate the sport more."
Spice won't be stopping anytime soon with her sights set on competing and getting her sixth black belt.
"I don't like odd numbers so I would like to get my fifth done but I don't think I'll stop there, I'll head towards my sixth because I like even numbers," she said.
I think I'm going to go another round, I've got the competition streak back in me again.Jacqueline Spice
"I just want to say thank you to my husband, Geoff, even though he's an instructor because it's a big commitment to dedicate all of your life to students. He's given the most out of all of us."