June 18, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Martial artist pays tribute to mum after trophy win

A martial artist has paid tribute to his late mother after winning trophies in a competition.

Mitch Hopes took part in the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) Regional Championship, held in Middlesbrough.

And he was spurred on to make his mother, Wendy, proud after she died three years ago at the age of 55.

Mitch Hopes and his mum, Wendy, at a Tang Soo Do class.
Mitch Hopes and his mum, Wendy, at a Tang Soo Do class.

Mitch, who teaches the Korean-based martial art in North Common Village Hall, Hanham, Bristol, went on to win gold, silver and bronze trophies for weapons, patterns and sparring in the black belt adult category.

He said: “My mum was a keen martial arts student and it’s thanks to her I’ve been successful in it. I’d like to think I’ve made her proud.”

From bullied to World Champion

Mitch Hopes with his mum and brother as a child.
Mitch Hopes with his mum and brother as a child.

Mum-of-four Wendy first started training in Tang Soo Do in the late 1990s. She enrolled Mitch when he was aged seven after he had been bullied.

Mitch, who is now a 1st degree black belt and World Champion, said: “My mum got me into Tang Soo Do as I was quiet and had been bullied.

“She was a very loving, caring mother to her children. She was an inspiration to all those who were around her.

“I believe I’m much more confident, resilient and happier thanks to my training and I will be forever grateful to my mum.”

Teaching

Mitch Hopes with his trophies for Tang Soo Do.
Mitch Hopes with his trophies for Tang Soo Do.

Mitch attended with students from neighbouring clubs Downend and Chipping Sodbury Tang Soo Do, where he also trains.

Mitch, who wants to pass on his experience to students, said: “I’m really looking forward to training students and seeing them progress so they can better defend themselves, get fit and possibly compete in the future.

“While it’s lovely to compete and win medals, I also enjoy the camaraderie of the art and events. It’s a chance to catch up with instructors from across the country and share knowledge and experience.”

Mitch Hopes with his uncle and instructor, Ian Crook.
Mitch Hopes with his uncle and instructor, Ian Crook.

Ian Crook, a 2nd Dan black belt, is Mitch’s uncle and instructor at Downend Tang Soo Do club. He said: “I’m very proud of Mitch. His hard work has paid off and I know his mum would be proud too.”

Mitch Hopes with his uncle and instructor, Ian Crook.
Mitch Hopes with his uncle and instructor, Ian Crook.

Wellbeing

Mitch, an outpatient support manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, has run demonstrations and workshops for staff as part of activities to celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS and promote staff wellbeing.

Mitch, who will defend his World title in the USA this summer, said: “I find Tang Soo Do helps build confidence and resilience, while reducing stress.”

Self-defence and health

Tang Soo Do is one of the oldest martial arts systems and promotes self-defence, physical and spiritual health and all-round personal development.

Martial arts film star Chuck Norris is a student of the art and displayed his prowess in films such as the classic 1970s film The Way of the Dragon with Bruce Lee.

Tang Soo Do is the same style taught by Kreese’s captain in Vietnam in the Cobra Kai series, a sequel to the 1980s Karate Kid films.

Students of Tang Soo Do have credited it with developing focus, clarity, greater flexibility and strength.