Middleton Guardian article regarding Bernards Master Grade
Martial arts expert Bernard Bagshaw hasn’t let being deaf from birth get in his way. Nor has he let being diagnosed with learning difficulties stop him from becoming one of the country’s top Ju-Jitsu artists.
The 48-year-old, who trains at Middleton Arena, has just been awarded his fifth degree master grade in the martial art he has spent the last 20 years mastering.
Bernard says taking on the ancient Japanese martial art has given the chance to turn his life round. He said: "Jiu-Jitsu has shaped my life and empowered me to overcome all manner of difficulties that my disability presents.
"Through my dedication and willingness to make a change in my life, I have become a different person to my younger self.
"My self confidence allows me to overcome tasks that I would never have attempted in my younger days.
"I am very proud to be part of the Katana Jiu-Jitsu club."
Bernard first took up Jiu-Jitsu 20 years ago after being inspired by the films of Bruce Lee.
He said: "My Jiu-Jitsu discipline gives me the inner strength and will to tackle everyday things that are taken for granted, but with a disability are taxing.
"I will continue to progress with my discipline and further improve my technique and skills.
"We have to adapt to everyday situations and Jiu-Jitsu is not bound by laws of sport.
"Jiu-Jitsu is a self defence and real life street situations mean you have to adapt your defence to suit the circumstances."
But the accolades have not come easily for Bernard.
He trains at Katana Jiu-Jitsu, based at Middleton Arena, for three-hours a day and up to six times a week.
Katana Jiu-Jitsu is offering a free lesson in Jiu-Jitsu at Middleton Arena. Contact them on 07711 600949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.