Karate coach aims to kick on with monk masterclass

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A karate coach is flying off to China this week to begin a month’s training with 34th generation Shaolin monks.

Jo Randall, 37, is the sensei at the English Contact Karate Association’s Leighton Buzzard club at Leighton Middle School.

She is a 2nd dan black belt and will leave to test and hone her skills in Qufu, around 300 miles south of Beijing, on Friday.

Jo will be taught by several Shaolin masters during her stay in the area best known as the birthplace of Confucius.

She said: “I’m expecting it to be one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.

“I’m used to tough training but nothing of this intensity. I’m fit, but I’m still nervous.

“They say the masters know your limits before you do.”

Jo, who started the Leighton club in 2009, will train for six hours a day in a range of disciplines and will also take Mandarin Chinese lessons in the evenings.

She plans to expand her programme in the town upon her return, with a new beginners course for adults set to start up in July.

Jo added: “I have been training with ECKA for 11-and-a-half years and it has been a goal of mine to train with traditional Chinese martial artists.

“I’m changing my job and reducing my hours to teach more, it means that much to me.”

The beginners course will run for three weeks and costs £15.

To find out more, visit leightonbuzzard.ecka.co.uk.