BLIND martial arts expert Mark Paterson has become a highly qualified teacher. The partially sighted master has overcome numerous obstacles in his life but achieving the eighth Dan black belt qualification is his most treasured. Mr Paterson, who is registered blind after being born with only seven per cent vision, launched a business venture with the support of his qualification. With a guiding hand from Action for Blind People, he has set up classes in Guis¬borough and Redcar and is now planning to teach a class around Teesside.
Redcar-born Mr Paterson, who lives in Skelton, teaches a modernised system of the Japanese fighting technique Aiki-jiyu jutsu. He said: “I’m probably the highest trained martial arts expert in the area – the eighth Dan is the highest accolade in the black belt. “The techniques I will be showing in my new classes use everything from throws and locks to pressure point fighting. “The old system, which dates back to tenth-century Japan, centres around sword fighting, so I’ve modernised it to protect people from weapons such as baseball bats and knives, which are more common on the streets today.”
Thanks to help from Action for Blind People, which helps blind and partially sighted people into employment, Mr Paterson has secured funding and drawn up his business plan. His love for the technique began in Malaysia, when he lived there as a child with his parents. His hobby continued back home in the UK and when he failed to find a teaching class in the area, he practised on friends. As time went on, he learned other disciplines such as Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu and got the teaching bug in 1995 when one of his instructors became ill and Mark took over the class. If you are interested in learning martial arts, contact Mark on 07979557227 for details on your nearest class.