THREE members of a Newton Aycliffe martial arts club have mastered the ancient skills of ju jitsu to black-belt level.

Avril Spence, 14, of Elm Tree, Amy Phillips, 13, of Roseworth, both in Stockton, and Tracy Gore, 32, of Billingham, were awarded the high-level belts after impressing judges last weekend.

Instructor Trevor Forsyth, a second dan in World Ju Jitsu Federation ju jitsu, said: "They have all done really well to reach this level.

"To receive a black belt, you have to display ju jitsu at a very high standard."

Judges look for positive attitude, self-confidence, flexibility, co-ordination and perfectly executed kicks, throws, holds and other moves before awarding its highest honours.

The talented trio all train at Mr Forsyth's classes at Greenfield School, in Newton Aycliffe, which has places for new members.

Classes are held on Mondays, from 6pm to 7.30pm for six to 14-year-olds, and from 7.30pm to 9pm for adults. For details, call (01740) 656295.

* Pictured are, from left, Amy Phillips, Tracy Gore and Avril Spence.