Local KickboxUK senior coach Martin Byrne has received the honour of becoming a fourth degree black belt in his field of martial arts from the Professional Kickboxing Association (PKA).
The PKA was founded in 1974 by Mike Haig, as an association to ensure the promotion and quality of the sport known as American Kickboxing.
Today, this modern martial art has grown to become one of the most popular light contact sports in the UK.
For Martin to receive his fourth degree black belt from Mr Haig has been a dream come true and represents a huge reward for all his efforts in developing the sport in the area.
Martin said: “It has been a great honour to receive this recognition from Mr Haig and the Professional Kickboxing Association.
“Being the only part-time kickboxing instructor to have ever received a fourth degree from the PKA makes me feel extremely proud and I hope will inspire others achieve their goals through martial arts.”
Martin began his martial arts training in 1985 and moved into kickboxing in 1998.
It was kickboxing that captured his enthusiasm for training, competition and in later years, coaching.
Martin started teaching in Clifton and East Leake in 2007 and now manages five clubs in the area.
“I’m still an active and participating martial artist,” he continued. “I enjoy teaching classes but I still have a drive to train and push myself.
“I now try to take that drive and enthusiasm and energise my students with it.”