THE next generation of York karate kids took a cluster of national medals from the JKS England Young Children’s Competition 2014 in Nottingham, writes Matthew Naylor.

The 12 young representatives from York Shokotan and JKS York brought home nine medals in the 100-strong field at the first junior competition of the calendar year.

York Shokotan Sensei Keith Gullen, one of the longest-serving senseis in the country, described his team’s medal haul as ‘very satisfactory’.

“It is always nice when you see all the effort that you have been putting in pay off,” said Gullen.

“If I send students away to a competition, I am disappointed if they don’t come away with a medal such is the pressure I have to put on them.”

Gullen has overseen star pupil Eleanor Dook earn a place in the JKS England squad recently and, with siblings Thomas and Frances each bringing a medal back from Nottingham, he is hopeful of more.

He added: “It is just a steady progression. What we are trying to do is get more and more children into the national squad.”

From the other side of town, the star martial artists were JKS York’s Freddie Marshall and Amy Tegetmeier, who won a gold and a bronze medal each.

Founder of the Haxby Road dojo and a student of Gullen’s, Sensei Simon Flint was equally delighted to see the improvements he has made since becoming a coach reap the rewards.

“Throughout the year, we have changed our regime to push the kids really hard,” he said.

“The results are showing already and we are hoping for more of the same.”

JKS England Chief Instructor Alan Campbell was equally impressed with all the performers on the day, saying: “They were told that they were the stars of the day and they didn’t disappoint.”

The next competition for York’s young martial artists will be in Selby in May as they look to impress and earn a place in the England squad for 2015.