Olympics inspire Ossett martial arts aces

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BLOSSOMING martial arts students from Ossett have taken inspiration from the Olympics to achieve black belt status in Tae Kwon Do.

Eight young and disciplined students from Ossett Martial Arts Academy were rewarded for years of hard work with a successful black belt grading.

Ty Chatterton, Tom Cooper, Ethan Ellis, Luke Batty, William Hemingway, Adam Marwood, Catherine Marwood and Ben Morgan all now sport the sought-after belt after passing their final three-hour exam with flying colours.

And the success of the sport at last summer’s London Olympics helped push the students on, according to Richard Batty, whose son was one of the eight students successful in the belt grading.

“The students are a bit young to be looking at competing in an Olympics at the moment but last summer’s Games certainly inspired them,” he said.

“Before the Olympics Tae Kwon Do was just another martial art, but the success of the sport in London helped take it to another level.

“People like Jade Jones [who won a gold medal in London] have helped the sport and helped give the students something to aim for.”

The Ossett students’ quest for a black belt started well before London 2012, however.

For some, they have been training half of their lives towards the latest grading, with some students as young as eight taking four-and-a-half years to reach their goal.

“It’s a big thing for them,” Batty continued.

“The students have trained years to get their belts and for some of them half of their lives.

“It’s a long process because you can only be graded every three months and there are ten gradings, more exams, and that is only if you pass every time. So for some of the students to get their belts in less than five years is a great achievement.”

Two of the students, Ethan Ellis and William Hemingway, received their 2nd dan black belts.

They are part of the 200-plus membership at the Academy, based at R C Marsden Business Centre off Dewsbury Road.

Six instructors provide training for a wide age range of students, led by Brian Crookes, himself a 4th dan black belt.

The club is currently offering a one-week free trial for anyone wanting to try an Olympic-recognised martial art.

Contact the club on 07771 694520 for more information.

See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.