Celebration time for Thetford club Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu

Thetford martial arts club Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu was joined by town mayor Sylvia Armes to celebrate its

Thetford martial arts club Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu was joined by town mayor Sylvia Armes to celebrate its 15th year, left is club sensei Trevor Steward and right is Ishin Ryu founder and chief instructor Soke Kevin Pell. - Credit: Submitted

Thetford martial arts club Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu celebrated 15 years since it was established with a party at the weekend.


Club sensei Trevor Steward started the club in 2000 after passing his Ishin Ryu black belt grading, when working as a lorry driver in Hertfordshire.

After lots of travelling to and from Norfolk for a year, Steward and his family made the move to the county and he started further classes in Brandon and Dereham, as well as more at Thetford Leisure Centre on Saturday mornings.

Steward said: “I never would have dreamt that 15 years later I would still be teaching as a full-time instructor. I have been very privileged over the last 15 years to experience alongside my instructor Soke Pell many great and risky situations.

“Between me and Soke we could write a book on the things we have done together over the last 20 years.

“So on Saturday I decided to celebrate this special year with a celebration party for all my students.”

Students past and present attended the celebration, as well as Thetford town mayor Sylvia Armes.

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The fun day packed out the leisure centre, with a new club sign unveiled in the main hall to mark the occasion.

Steward added: “It was so great to see so many students enjoying themselves. Their smiles on their faces said it all, and so many came up to me to say thank you for a great party.

“I can’t believe that I started back in 2000, with a couple of students and now I teach hundreds of children a week. I didn’t want the party to stop.”

The club has also marked the efforts of two of its longest serving students recently also.

Terry Whiffin has been training with the club since 2002 and his brother, Alex, since 2003.

Alex has returned to Ishin Ryu training after overcoming a health issue, having worked his way through the club’s belts to achieve the top rank of Brown-Black.

Terry has also worked his way through all the belts since starting in infant classes at four years old, giving his first demonstration at Thetford Carnival in 2004 and progressing to now being an instructor at the club.

Steward said of the Whiffin brothers: “As I said in front of the class, it is amazing to witness what great students can achieve.

“Today’s children so easily give up because it takes too much work or it’s too tiring. Many would rather sit at home on their Xbox than keep fit and protect themselves.

“I can never put into words how proud I am of Terry and Alex, it is the best feeling any instructor can ever feel.

“Thank you so much for making it such a pleasure to teach you both over the last 12 years.”

For details about the club, call 01953 483795 or go to ishinryu.com