A WELL-KNOWN karate instructor has been awarded his 7th Dan for years of service and dedication to the discipline.
Sensei John Ball has coached all over Rotherham for the last 44 years, taking many of his students to national and international levels.
His many bases have included Silverwood Miners Welfare Club, the Queens Hotel at Rawmarsh, Miners Welfare at Parkgate, Rawmarsh Baths, Malthouse and at Greasbrough's Saint Mary's Church and Methodist Church. He also had 16 years at the village's public hall.
When John was offered a derelict building on Domine Lane in the heart of Rotherham in the late 1990s, he renovated it to a high standard with his own money and called it Rotherham Martial Art Centre.
The club ran there for nearly 22 years until earlier this year when it was demolished for redevelopment. The students to pass through the doors included some with learning difficulties, autism, ADHD and other problems. Karate helped their concentration levels and school work.
John, who has taught traditional karate as well as sport karate, was presented with his award by the chief instructors of the Shindo Kai Karate Association.
Sensei said: “This award means a lot to me. I would like to thank all the students I have coached over the years and I hope to carry on when life eventually gets back to normal.”