A DOUBLE black belt winning 84-year-old is proving that age is no barrier as he continues to fight his way through weekly martial arts sessions.

Pensioner Ken Nevison, of Shildon, in County Durham, first took up martial arts as a 58-year-old when he retired from Shildon Wagon Works.

A member of Auckland Martial Arts Academy, in Bishop Auckland, Mr Nevison, of South Street, gained a first taekwondo black belt just four years later.

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He then added a second black belt in the martial art as a 64-year-old.

Mr Nevison said: “I went to pick my granddaughter, Nicola Maxwell, up from Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre in 1988.

“While I waited there was a martial arts class taking place and the instructor asked me if I was interested in taking part. He said I could always try it.

“I joined The Shildon Martial Arts Centre in 1999 under instructor Richy Welsh and by the time I was 64 I had my first black belt and I added a second one two years later.”

It was during this period that Mr Nevison badly damaging his shoulder falling down some steps. The injury required an operation and meant he could not train for nearly five years.

Mr Nevison moved to the Auckland Martial Arts Academy, where instructor Welsh, was teaching to train in taekwondo while also taking up judo, Thai boxing and Filipino Kali.

“When I went back to the academy to start training again the instructor just looked at me and then got me a new club t-shirt,” said Mr Nevison, of South Street.

“I do it to keep fit and I enjoy it. I’ll use my fists and feet against anyone and I’m pretty fast. I don’t see it as unusual for someone my age to be doing martial arts.”

Senior instructor Welsh said: “Ken is amazing. He’s an inspiration and I hope to have him as a student for many more years.

“It’s very easy to say ‘oh I’m too old or too tired tonight’ but here is a guy, 80 years older than our youngest student, who refuses to give in.”