A WREXHAM man has been awarded his eighth-degree black belt after nearly 40 years of dedication to Taekwondo.

Ady Jones, a multiple world champion, first attended a Taekwondo class in February 1985 - and was immediately hooked.

More than a decade ago, he used to run taekwondo classes in Ruabon on a Friday night which were attended by a young Jade Jones (now a two-time Olympic gold medallist) so she could work on her sparring.

Ady graded for his first black belt in 1988 under Master Hee Cho who was an eighth-degree black belt and, at that time, no-one else in the UK was even close to his grade.

He said: "At the time there was only one ninth-degree Grandmaster in any style at any one time so I thought this was unachievable and so I set a goal of becoming an eighth dan."

That dream has now just recently become a reality for the Wrexham resident.

Ady was awarded an eighth dan black belt - a level which can only be achieved after seven years of practicing as a seventh dan.

Along the way, Ady trained hard and completed at both national and international level, slowly progressing through the grades and taking his last physical grading for fifth dan in October 2002 and winning his second Best in Black Belt Grading award.

In 2003 he opened his first club in Ruabon and then in 2014 left his job to follow his passion for teaching and opened a full-time Academy.

Ady asked his association if they would allow him to physically grade for his eighth dan, but unfortunately - having recently been diagnosed with a hip problem, he wasn't physically able to grade - something which left him extremely disappointed.

However, on November 22, his black belt class was gate-crashed by Master Darren Richardson and Master Richard Saunders who awarded him his eighth dan for his contributions to Taekwondo.


As such, the goal Ady set over 35 years ago has now been accomplished and presented to him by two people he greatly admires.

Ady said: "I would like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey up to now, there are far too many to mention. I would also like to thank my students who inspire me every day.

"From here, it is nine years to Grandmaster so watch this space - I may have one last grading in me yet!"