MICHELLE Gardiner will have been running her martial arts class in Worcester for 20 years on Saturday.

The White Lotus Martial Arts Association chief instructor has been leading sessions at the Lyppard Hub in Warndon Villages since 1999.

The class for kickboxing and mixed martial arts has met every Saturday from 10am until 11.30 with no breaks apart from for Christmas holidays.

Gardiner started doing martial arts when she got bored with a fitness class.

She continued: "I joined with my friend who wasn’t too keen but I got addicted and worked up through my belts to black belt.

"I also entered lots of competitions and gained British and European titles.

"With a few bad experiences with martial arts associations I started my own association with a student focus.

"Anyone is welcome at the clubs irrespective of age or ability.

"We are an inclusive club. Everyone develops at different rates and it’s really important to focus on individual progress.

"I have trained at least 40 people to black belt and have fighters who have won British titles. 

"It’s scary now that people I trained when they were children are now bringing their children. While it makes me feel really old it’s a great testament to the club. 

"It’s so important to help people to develop confidence, self-belief and a positive mentality whether they attend to gain their black belt, tournament success, self-protection or for fitness and fun.

"We have eight fighters including myself who have qualified for the squad for the World Cup in October but we are not just about fighting.

"We are a family and have children as young as four and people over 50 training. 

"It has been difficult as a woman as it is a male-dominated sport.

"It has encouraged women to participate and progress with four of the five senior management of the association being women.

"For me personally the best aspect of teaching is seeing children and adults achieve what they had no idea they could achieve."

For more details on the club and their other venues, visit whitelotus.co.uk.