Chalkstone Karate Club welcomes everyone, whether you are 82, a wheelchair user or young and enthusiastic.
Sensei — or chief instructor — Steve Hart was speaking after 13 of his students were awarded an upgrade to their belts during the club’s latest grading.
He said the club are always willing to adapt and work with every individual’s needs, whether that is physical or mental, to try to make the martial art as accessible as possible.
And he said this had seen them joined recently by a blind woman, a wheelchair user and an 82-year-old man — who has been awarded his purple belt in the last few months — as well as a host of people of all ages.
The club currently has about 40 members on its books, although not all are regularly training.
Hart said: “We put a few less forward for this grading than the last one, before Christmas, because we only wanted to put forward those that were confident in what they were doing.
“We do our gradings in-house up to the black belt — our black belts and those trying for them have to go to HQ to do a central exam, we can’t test them here.
“But doing them in-house doesn’t make the exam any easier anyway, we are just as strict, they just get to do it in familiar surroundings.
“They all worked very hard towards it and those that were successful fully deserved to receive their new belts.
“We have all ages and abilities in the club, from five to 82, which shows that age is no reason not to do something like karate.
“Obviously he has a few limitations in movement but we can take the time to work around them — and it’s just as enjoyable for him.
“We’ve also just started working with a guy who uses a wheelchair too, his partner is blind and a member and he said he wanted to give it a go.
“I didn’t see why not, it’s a challenge for us all as we learn how best to do it, but that’s not a problem for us.
“We’ll work with anyone because it’s all about discipline and patience and self-defence too, that’s the principle behind it and that’s universal.
“So we do get a lot of enquiries, it’s a useful skill.”
He added that the club are planning to enter an event in London in May as he said he had a few members interested in taking part in competitions as well.
• At the latest grading, the orange belt was awarded to Glyn Morgan, Paul Dordai, Karl Johansen and Summer Bolton.
Meanwhile, Sapphire Faircloth received her orange belt, white stripe and Morgan Mann, Christine McGee and Magdelena Sutcliffe won their yellow belts.
Brodie Faircloth, Aden Andrews and George Harber received their green belt (6th Kyu) while Ted Yaxley and Logan Faircloth were awarded their purple belts.
Lessons are held on Tuesday from 7pm at the Chalkstone Community Centre.