GEORGIA – An energetic 69-year-old grandmother from Georgia has just earned a black belt in martial arts.

Annie Carter, from Rydal, GA, took up Choi Kwang Do three years ago at the Choi Kwang Do Martial Art in Cartersville. Initially, she took her grandchildren to lessons before she fell in love with the sport.

“I was watching them and I said instead of just sitting here, why I don’t try it,” said Carter in an interview with FOX 5 Atlanta.

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Cartersville Grandmother Earns 1st Degree Black Belt: MyFoxATLANTA.com

After that it was long hours, hard work and sheer determination that helped achieve her goal of earning a first degree black belt before her 70th birthday.

Carter was promoted to black belt — the 10th color belt in Choi Kwang Do — last month, following hours of rigorous tests on various martial arts components, such as kicks, speed drills and performing patterns.

“You have to have a purpose and you have to focus on that purpose and that’s what I had to do because at 69, this is not easy,” said Carter. “People will say to me. I can’t do that. I can’t lift my leg. I say to them when I started, I couldn’t either. But now, black belt.”

In fact, her black belt achievement has improved all aspects of her life. The disciplined practice has helped her lose 44 pounds, lowered her blood pressure and got her diabetes under control. She now teaches classes and is on the dojo’s demo team.

“She kind of helps inspire us with her spirit because when she comes in, she cannot be defeated,” said Michael Wilson, co-owner of Choi Kwang Do in Cartersville. “Whatever hurdles that are put in front of her, she always overcomes them with ease.”

Three generations of Carter’s family, who all train at Cartersville, now have their black belt. Carter says she is now working towards her 2nd degree black belt.

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti