Grandmaster returns to martial arts arena

A martial arts grandmaster who uses a walking frame to arrive to sessions has restarted classes to help pupils learn self defence and fitness skills – at the age of 77.

Brian Jones has been teaching martial arts for more than 60 years after he first started participating in the sport aged 11, when he learned Judo, but has become a grandmaster in three disciplines – Tai Chi, Wing Chun and Escrima.

He had run classes at Ormiston Bushfield Academy, but after a short break, has restarted the lessons at Christ Church in Orton Goldhay on Monday nights.

The pensioner – who even uses a walking frame to get around – said continuing with the sports helped keep him young despite reaching 77-years of age.

He said; “Tai Chi is exercise in motion. It really does stop the aging process.

“It is not a complete cure all, but it really does help me stay young.

“We have had to move venue recently, but we are back up and running now, which is good.

At the classes, Brian teaches people as young as 20 in the various disciplines,.

Brian said: “We have people of all ages come along – while we do not have a children’s class, we would look at the circumstances if children did come along.

“Wing Chun is a form of Chinese boxing, which is very close range, and Escrima as a form of stick fighting.

“There are 138 moves in total in Tai Chi, and we teach a different one every week. There are lots of moves to learn so it takes some time.”

Brian learned Wing Chun when he was living in London working as a fruit and vegetables porter.

His club is thought to be the first in the country to have introduced classes in Escrima.

Brian said: “There are plenty of benefits for health, self defence and vitality.


“These disciplines are practised all over the world, and are very popular.”

Escrima is the national sport of the Phillipines, and Brian teaches the The Latosa system which revolves around five strikes, both in attack and defence.

Wing Chun originated in China, and has a number of different styles – some unarmed, while others use weapons, including knives and a pole. Tai Chi also originated in China, and has featured as an Olympic demonstration sport. It has also featured in a number of movies, books and video games.

The classes take place on Monday evenings between 7pm and 9pm, and are suitable for both men and women.

People of all abilities are welcome to attend, and anyone wishing to take part should wear loose, comfortable clothing.

The sessions cost £6.