Martial arts master John Goldson might have three black belts but he’s knocked out by the talent of these Sheffield youngsters, writes Graham Walker.
Meet not just the karate kids...but jiu-jitsu juniors and taekwondo tots.
John is teaching the next generation of mixed martial arts champions and they are already picking up gold medals after starting out from the tender age of four.
It’s not just for boys. Girl power is helping to fill the trophy shelves at his Forge Martial Arts Gracie Barra Sheffield gym, near to Crystal Peaks, in Drake House Crescent, Waterthorpe.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report - including details of MMA Night at The Octagon, Sheffield, on May 24.
His daughter Amy, of Beighton, pals Caitlin Traloar, of Mosborough, both 11, and Eve Hinson, 12, of Aston, are winning medals every time they compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Next they will start competing for karate honours.
John, one of the first people in the country to get a black belt in his main sport, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is a former British champion. He also has black belts in karate and taekwondo.
But he’s not grappling with any ideas of a comeback. He’s given his competition days the chop, in favour of coaching and promoting stars of the future.
“Amy is undefeated, getting submissions in all her fights - she’s just won gold medals in her last four competitions,” said proud dad John, owner and head coach of Forge Martial Arts.
“Caitlin and Eve are winning gold, silver and bronze every time they compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Fingers crossed we will have world champions coming out of the gym in future.
“I started at doing karate at 11, but we suggest four to five is a great age to start. We make the classes fun, engaging, with a lot of play, incorporating jiu-jitsu, as well as techniques and the sparring aspect. It’s great for kids and adults. There’s the competitive side of it, the keep fit element and the self defence side of it. They become aware, not only of how to look after themselves but the tell tale signs of bullying and things like that.”
John, will help showcase some of the best adult amateur and professional mixed martial arts talent around, including Muay Thai and kickboxing, with 15 fights on a MMA Show at The Octagon, Sheffield, on Saturday, May 24, 6.30pm to midnight.
He said: “It’s the first MMA show in Sheffield in some years. We’re trying to promote the sport in the light it should be. We’re ecstatic to have it at the Octagon, it’s such a fantastic venue.
“We want to raise the profile as a professional sport, instead of the kind of sport that’s hidden behind closed doors, or underground.”