YEARS of dedication have finally been rewarded for Kendal man who has been crowned world champion at his chosen sport.

Rich Smith travelled to Paris to compete against challengers from around the globe in the World Championships of Sport Nunchaku, a highly specialist and skilled form of martial arts which is growing in popularity.

Known as a sensie, which means ‘teacher,’ Mr Smith became the UK’s first ever master level world champion and won a gold medal for master level combat, a silver in the semi-contact category and a further silver in the freestyle category.

“It’s been my lifelong dream to become world champion,” he said.

And after his amazing success in France, he has now won another huge accolade in being asked to organise the next world championships, which are set to be held in either Liverpool or London.

Originally from Sheffield, Mr Smith said he always loved the Lake District fells and moved to the area more than two decades ago.

He has since built up his expertise on Sport Nunchaku, a form of combat which originated in Japan and was popularised by legendary film star Bruce Lee.

Speed and fitness are the key qualities in the sport, which uses a weapon consisting of two wooden sticks connected by a chain or rope, though for safety reasons, foam sticks are used in competitive events.

Sensei Smith teaches Sport Nunchaku across the region, with classes at Kendal Leisure Centre from 6pm to 7pm every Friday.

All ages from the age of three upwards are welcome, though you are asked to contact Sensie Smith via his Facebook page prior to attending.