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Last Updated:  Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 12:11 GMT
Kick boxer defies age barrier
Mr Jones
Mr Jones had to break a brick to gain his black belt
A pensioner, who is one of the oldest people in Britain to gain a black belt in kick boxing, has begun passing on his expertise to his younger counterparts.

John Jones, 69, from Muriau Park, Caernarfon, has started coaching at the Wu Shu Kwan club in Penygroes.

Many of his friends and family thought he was "crackers" to take up the sport but Mr Jones feels his efforts have benefited his health.

He has no intention of trying for a second dan black belt but he does intend to keep practicing and nurture up and coming martial artists.

At first I just did it to keep fit and I wasn't interested in getting any of the belts.
John Jones

"It all started when my son Mark was keen to join the Chinese kick boxing club," he said.

"To start with I watched from the sidelines but later asked if I was too old to take part.

Quick learner

"The instructor said there was no problem and I have loved every minute of it since.

It took Mr Jones four-and-a-half years to gain his belt - which involved fighting two people, smashing eight red roof tiles, chopping a brick and breaking a two-inch piece of wood.

Brick breaking
Point of contact for Mr Jones

The grading ceremony down in London lasted nine hours and involved demonstrating complex set moves.

"It was certainly very grueling," he said.

"At first I just did it to keep fit and I wasn't interested in getting any of the belts.

"However, I soon realised that you only discover new moves if you do successfully gain a belt.

"As a result it gets more and more interesting as you progress - that is what keeps you going."

At first I thought he was a bit crackers taking it up
Dilys Jones

Mr Jones says his kick boxing has helped him in many ways.

Discipline and control

"I sometimes feel quite lethargic when I'm sitting in the house watching TV but after going to the club and doing some training I feel far less tired.

"I also lose my temper far less often and it takes a lot to wind me up these days.

"That is also down to the kick boxing as it teaches you discipline and control.

"I also realise that I am very lucky to be healthy enough to participate in the first place."

His wife Dilys said: "At first I thought he was a bit crackers taking it up.

"I was afraid he might do himself an injury.

"But it's been great for him and we've been right behind him."

Mr Jones intends to carry on training and coaching once a week as he approaches his 70th year.

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