Two of Hyndburn’s best ju-jitsu fighters have been called into the England Sport Ju-Jitsu squad and are training hard to cement a place in the England team for the World Championships next year.
Dean Thompson, 23, from Oswaldtwistle and Nathan Dunn, 22, from Clayton Le Moors, both train at Hyndburn’s Kuon Ji Ju-Jitsu Association.
Both are second Dan Black Belts and are instructors at the Association’s clubs in Oswaldtwistle and Clayton.
Dean is an experienced competitor, with many gold medal wins to his name and is a former captain of the Leeds University thai-boxing team during his studies there.
Nathan, although relativley new to competition fighting, has burst onto the scene this year with great success and is fast making a name for himself.
Their coach Max Robinson, himself a former member of the Great Britain Sport ju-jitsu team, is delighted that Dean and Nathan are getting a chance at following in his footsteps and competing at international level.
He said: "They are two great lads who deserve this opportunity. They were invited in to train with the England squad last year as a taster and they impressed the national coach so much that they are now an integral part of the squad and are well in the mix for a place in the England team proper."
Both Hyndburn fighters are meeting up regularly with the England squad for training and they have both earned a place in the England team for a friendly challenge competition against Northern Ireland in Belfast in February.
"This is part of the warm-up for the World Championships later in the year," continued Max Robinson.
"Hopefully they will do well in Belfast and show the rest of the coaches that they are worthy of a place in the team.
"They train with me on a regular basis at Kuon Ji’s Oswaldtwistle club and I will be working hard to get them in the best possible shape both physically and mentally.
"They are both professional about their ju-jitsu and receptive to the advice and experience of their senior coaches.
"It is good that we will have another two international class fighters in Hyndburn."
Coach Robinson added: "What makes this more special is that the England Sport ju-jitsu squad is made up of martial artists from all codes and associations, not just one.
"The current England squad includes fighters from backgrounds of traditional ju-jitsu, judo, Brazilian ju-jitsu, karate and mixed martial arts.
"So to get in the team the fighters have to overcome many different sorts of opponents with varying styles, and as all martial artists in Hyndburn reading this will know, that is not an easy task."