SENSEI Richard Smith has become the first competitor from the United Kingdom to return home with a medal in Freestyle Nunchaku from a tournament held on Dutch soil.
Having between 90 and 180 seconds to perform a routine, Smith navigated three rounds before posting a score of 14.2 to secure bronze in the European Open Nunchaku Championships.
With Holland staging competitions for the best part of half a decade, Smith becomes the first freestyle medallist from British shores – and was only 0.2 points from taking silver and 0.4 from snaring gold.
This completes a successful couple of years for the man who is a 3rd Dan Nunchaku as well as 6th Dan Ju-Jitsu and 2nd dan kobudo, after being ranked second in Europe for Combat Nunchaku and fourth in the world.
“This was the first time someone from the UK has won a medal in Freestyle Nunchaku the whole time the Dutch have been running competitions – it’s a very proud moment when you make history,” he said.
“It’s always been my goal to get a medal abroad in Freestyle and it’s a massive life achievement to be on the podium in another country.
“It was all the more special with it being Holland as the Dutch are so impressive at Freestyle. It is definitely a career highlight and comes close to when I got my 6th Dan last year.
“The main reason I go abroad to fight and train in Nunchaku fighting is because there is nobody in the UK to challenge me.”
Next month, Smith leads a Great Britain team to Switzerland with Kendal’s Fred Audin, Daniel Charnley and Connor Woodley as well as Rebecca Robertson and Savanna Middleton of Carlisle all involved.
He selected his side back in October with the squad set to compete in Nunchaku Combat and Freestyle, while next June Kendal and Smith will host the World Nunchaku Championships.
After founding Kesshin Kai – formerly the Lakeland Ju-Jitsu Academy – Smith is fully focussed on using his experience to assist future generations of martial arts enthusiasts.
“Going forward, I want to better my European and World rankings for Combat Nunchaku but it would also be nice to carry on with the freestyle and maybe deliver Sport Nunchaku to schools in the area,” he added.
“I also aim to increase numbers for Sport Nunchaku in Kendal and maybe train up some champions for next year when ten countries converge on the Lakes Leisure Centre.
“The next challenge is Switzerland in May and I really think we can get at least one gold medal and one silver.
“It would be nice to get a bronze and another silver but a gold and silver is probably the most likely outcome.”
# Sensei Richard Smith runs Sport Nunchaku and Ju-Jitsu classes in Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Penrith and Carlisle.
Further information is available by contact Sensei Smith by telephone: 07718530346 or via his website: www.world-ju-jitsu.com