Retired grandmother dubbed Ninja Nanny earns her black belt
- Credit: Archant
Nearly six years ago, a retired grandmother from Dereham set out with a goal to achieve sporting glory.
And now, 68-year-old Joan Patchett, of Holt Road, has brought home the coveted black belt, becoming the fifth in her family to do so.
Like many nans, Mrs Patchett loves gardening and spending time with her grandchildren but it is her skills in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won which earned her the nickname Ninja Nanny.
“It’s taken more than five years of training,” she said. “But I’ve finally got there.
“You don’t know what you can do until you give it a go. It’s been worth making the effort as I never wanted to grow old lightly.”
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The retired science teacher took up the sport back in 2015 and within her first year of training won a medal in an international competition, finishing fourth in the over-40 category at the World Kuk Sool Won Association European Tournament.
She said she was proud of her achievements and being able to see it through, especially as she was “completely useless” at PE when she was at school.
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She added: “A lot of people start up with it and do a few belts but don’t always go all the way.
“There is so much to remember and it’s actually the remembering part that I struggle with the most, not the physical aspect. There are lots of techniques and forms.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s made me feel fit and healthy and gives me more energy.”
The martial art is part of Mrs Patchett’s on-going efforts to improve her health and fitness. Back in 2013 she lost three-and-half stone.
Two of her children also have black belts; daughter Emma Hurst and son Michael Patchett, who achieved his at the same time as his mother. And three of her ten grandchildren, soon to be twelve, also compete in Kuk Sool Won.
Mrs Patchett, who trains with the Kuk Sool Won Dereham and Wymondham UK School, hoped to make it to black belt before her 70th birthday and is pleased she was able to achieve her goal ahead of that landmark.
“My grand kids still call me Ninja Nanny and I am so pleased this was something I tried.”