Black belt Joseph makes mum proud

A SUFFOLK schoolboy, born after his mum underwent a kidney transplant, has achieved his black belt in karate.

A SUFFOLK schoolboy, born after his mum underwent a kidney transplant, has achieved his black belt in karate.

Joseph Bladwin, who lives at Semer, near Hadleigh was born after mum Margot received the transplant from her sister in 1985.

Margot is incredibly proud of her 12-year-old son's achievement. She said: “This is an incredibly proud moment for the family, given that he is my only son as well makes it an even better achievement, I am so proud of him.

“Karate has been really good for him, he used to be a clumsy child but he now has that extra focus and concentration that he needs.”

Joseph was recently made head boy of year 7 at St Josephs College in Ipswich, something Margot attributes to his karate achievement.

She said: “He is such a well rounded boy now thanks to his karate, and that was what he was awarded the prize for. He is so much more focused now, as well as having a massive drive to succeed.”

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Margot and husband Michael's attempts to have another child were unsuccessful, and despite receiving another transplant, this time from Michael, complications meant they were unable to conceive, so Joseph's achievement is even more special to them.

Joseph trains at least four times a week, twice with his main instructor Stuart Kitchener, and twice with Billy Brennan, who recently became one of the country's highest qualified coaches, achieving his 8th Dan.

In order to achieve his black belt, Joseph had to complete a day-long exam, in front of a panel of expert judges. He had to complete 50 press ups, 50 sit ups, as well as run a mile in less than eight minutes. Joseph also had to show a broad range of more than 100 kicks and punches, as well as having to remember and perform a number of katas, which are combinations performed in a fighting dance style.

Coach Kitchener was also very proud of Joseph's achievement. He said: “We are all very proud of him, he didn't necessarily find karate easy to start with, and it is testament to his hard work and dedication that he was able to push on and achieve this award.

“In recent weeks and months he has stepped up his commitment even further, and has really raised the bar in terms of his personal performance, he has come a long way.”

The 3rd Dan instructor also believes martial arts to be a good way to face the ups and downs of everyday life.

He said: “Martial Arts really do prepare youngsters for adult life. Joseph has had to take some knocks along his karate journey, but has always got up and carried on again. This is a great replication of what happens in life, because it isn't always easy.

“Installing this sort of mentality from a young age is great, as it can stay with you for a lifetime. Not only is it an incredibly good way of keeping fit, it is also so good for confidence. This is true both in terms of defending yourself when attacked, and in other areas such as schools, just like Joseph has shown.”

Stuart continued: “Karate is so good for self discipline, and I would recommend it to anyone. We have a man of 70 at our club named Micky Youngs who last year won our student of the year award. He is an amazing man, who is as dedicated as any of our younger members, often out doing them. His level of commitment, as well as Josephs, shows that the sport is for everyone.”

Anyone interested in taking up Karate in the Hadleigh area should visit Stuart's website at, or the EKKA at

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