A FITNESS consultant from York has been selected to train abroad in a rare and ancient Thai martial art.

Graham Kavanagh, of Dale Street, off Nunnery Lane, is a specialist exercise instructor and runs his own business, Graham Fit Personal Training.

Aged 50, he's been selected as the only person from York and possibly the whole of Yorkshire, to go to Thailand this year to train at the prestigious Buddhai Swan institute of swordsmanship in Ayutthaya.

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York Press: Graham is heading to Thailand in the AutumnGraham is heading to Thailand in the Autumn (Image: Supplied)

He said: "Going to Thailand is a privilege, as very few westerners are granted the opportunity. 

"I will be training to the highest levels under Thai masters.

"I became a student of Krabi Krabong - one of three forms of Thai martial arts in Manchester.

"Krabi Krabong is the Royal warrior art and Thai weapons system and there is more than just fighting to it, there's also the discipline, culture and education of this rare martial art is important to me and something I envisage doing for years to come.

"Krabi Krabong is becoming a dying martial art form. Very few who know about the traditional Thai martial arts, it is important to me that traditions and knowledge are kept alive and promoted.

"I’m not aware of anyone in York, nor indeed all of Yorkshire or further afield, who train in Krabi Krabong nor have ever trained at the Buddhai Swan from our region of the UK."

York Press: Graham preparing for his tripGraham preparing for his trip (Image: Supplied)

His trip is scheduled for the end of October or early November, and will be 10-14 days of tough training, around six hours or more per day.

He said: "Training at the Buddhai Swan institute is literally the Gold standard of the Thai martial arts being an elite establishment.

"This experience would never have happened had I not trained hard and persevered. They’re were times in the early days where I didn’t think I’d ever get through a training session let alone continue into the years I have been training, as it is a very high skill level. The benefits of learning the Thai martial arts are immeasurable."

Graham has a background in Thai boxing that began back in the early 1990’s in his home town of Darlington as part of an effort to raise his own fitness levels.

He said: "I eventually gave this up many years ago, but the seed was always in my mind. I was still searching for something to do in relation to martial arts.

"The Thai martial arts are where my experience and knowledge in martial arts lies, and there is nothing quite like it."

Krabi Krabong is believed to have begun its life at the Buddhai Swan centuries ago. The system is said to date back thousands of years and is a battlefield skill which is how it differs from other martial arts. 

York Press: Graham practising his skillsGraham practising his skills (Image: Supplied)