A MARTIAL arts instructor and his students returned triumphantly from an international competition in America – bagging themselves a multitude of awards for their hard work.

Ten students from Chipping Sodbury Tang Soo Do, led by their teacher, Paul Townsley, of Yate, attended the World Tang Soo Do Association World Championships in North Carolina, USA, on July 18 and 19 as part of the Great British Team.

The group returned with eight gold medals, six silver medals, and 10 bronze medals. Mr Townsley himself won the Grand Champion Trophy in the Senior Male Black Belt Category.

Mr Townsley, 52, has been taking his students to the international competition since 2000. The groups are frequently successful, but winning the Grand Champion Trophy was a first for Mr Townsley.

He said: “I’ve been trying and trying but I haven’t won it before. I can finally relax now.

“I feel like it’s something I have always aimed for, but just haven’t got it. Glad to say I got it this time.”

To make it through to the world championships in North Carolina, the group first had to qualify through a national and European stage.

It was in June last year that the group successfully soared through the European stage, held in Munich, Germany.

Mr Townsley continued: “The students have done very well and it’s been a massive experience for all of us.

“The group also had to raise all the money for the trip themselves, so they’ve put a lot of effort into getting there.

“I hope that I can continue to send students to the competition. I’d like all my students to go.”

Each student competed in three disciplines, forms, fighting and weapons. The 10 students helped form the group of 50 British competitors that were in attendance.

The competition itself ran over two days with 1600 competitors from all over the world competing and is a bi-annual event.

The club trains on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at Chipping Sodbury School and has children and adults class. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming club and anyone interested in giving it a try can contact Paul on 07860 471232 or email paul.townsley@blueyonder.co.uk