Grandmaster Mark

A MARTIAL arts instructor from Bromley Heath has become a grandmaster of taekwondo.

Mark James has been practising and teaching the sport for more than 30 years, and specialises in advanced forms and self-defence techniques.

At the end of September he was invited to a Chungdokwan UK grading panel in Bristol to assess his skills and has successfully attained the grade of 6th Dan.

Mark, who trains with Frontline Martial Arts in Alveston, is a former British heavyweight champion & Welsh Open bronze medallist, who has trained with Olympic team members in several different countries including the UK, USA, Australia and Greece.

There are 9 Dans in Taekwondo in total, but Mark says the 9th is “almost impossible to achieve” as it is not graded for. Having achieved grandmaster status he must wait a minimum of six years before he will be eligible to grade again but said: “I don’t intend stopping anytime soon.”

Mark first took up Wado Ryu karate in the 1980’s, as his father was an instructor.

He said: “I believe the Martial Arts are a state of mind that teach us humility.

“I try to instil this lesson during the many ladies-only and junior self-defence classes I teach.

“We’re all born equal, it’s our mindset that depicts whether we become victims or victors, because we only lose if we quit.”