Sheffield instructor’s taekwondo classes strike it right for 25 years

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A popular martial arts instructor is celebrating 25 years of teaching all ages to kick, block and punch in Sheffield.

Graham Churchill first began teaching taekwondo at Ecclesall Parish Hall in Sheffield in January 1990 – and has gone onto train more than 200 athletes up to black belt level.

As a member of the Tae Kwon Do association of Great Britain, Graham is a 7th dan world master and has competed at national and international competitions around the globe.

An injury meant he had to retire from competing himself in 1992, but Graham says he gets great satisfaction out of sharing his skills with his students to help them achieve their goals.

The 51-year-old, from Wheatley, Doncaster, said: “There aren’t many jobs that allow you to do your sport day in day out.

“Some people come to increase their confidence or their flexibility while others want to compete.

“Whatever their reason for attending, it’s great to help people progress and reach their goals, I’m very proud of my students.”

When Graham first began teaching he had just 10 members in Sheffield. Today he has 72 students in the city and more at classes he teaches in Doncaster.

His students range from aged five to 74 and vary in ability, from beginner to advanced.

Graham said: “News of the group has mainly spread through word of mouth.

“It’s great t we get a range of ages and families coming along too, who train, grade and compete together.”

Among Graham’s students is his seven-year-old son Ben who has already achieved his blue belt.

Graham’s 12-year-old daughter Katie is also trained up to green belt level.

The dad says he has no intention of hanging up his punch pads just yet.

Graham said: “There are instructors in their 70s so I’ll keep going as long as I can and possibly progress to 8th dan along the way.”