WORLD champion martial arts expert Rich Smith has achieved a long held dream by earning a top qualification in the art of Iaido, which means 'sword drawing.'

A sensei, or teacher, and 4th Dan in the highly specialised martial art Sport Nunchaku, he became the sport's first UK world champion in Paris earlier this year.

But Kendal based Sensei Smith had another aim, to receive his shodan, or degree, in Iaido.

And to achieve that goal, he travelled thousands of miles to the tropical Japanese island of Okinawa, where the sport originated.

In very hot, humid conditions, Sensei Smith was trained by Sensei Hamamoto, an 8th Dan Iaido, for three to five hours every day of his three and a half week stay at the dojo, which traditionally has no air conditioning.

The instruction culminated in a gruelling and intensive three hour long grading including 27 exercises, but Sensei Smith rose to the challenge and was presented with his shodan certificate in Iaido.

Now back home, the martial arts expert, who thanked trip sponsors Mark Gibson at MGD and Shaun Ellison from Alexander and Sancto, has now launched a program to teach Sport Nunchaku to young children and people with autism and learning difficulties.

And next month, he will re-open Ambleside Ju-Jitsu Club and launch a four week online self defence course.

For inquiries on any or Sensei Smith's programmes, visit