GIVEN THAT she's 61-years-old you could be forgiven for expressing surprise at the fact that Greystones woman Lynne Loftus recently qualified for the World Karate and Kick Boxing Championships in Montreal this October.
The driven and passionate lady, who is a member of the ASKO group of clubs, sealed her place on the plane in the Weapons and Sparring competitions and will be joined at the tournament by two fellow Greystonians, Aisling Lavelle in the Silver Womens Kata and Bronze Womens Point Sparring and Conan Sherlock who qualified in the Silver Continous Mens and points sparring Bronze. And from their sister club in Monkstown, Robbie Brennan will compete in the Gold Mens Kata.
"We competed in the eliminations which are held once a year and people came from all over the country. We're delighted to have qualified and now the fundraising starts for October and hopefully we will get there," said Lynne.
The ASKO clubs have been in existence for over 30 years and have venues in Bray, Greystones, Johnstown and Monkstown. The sensei in Greystones is Dave Blaides and he has been training Wado Ryu Karate in the town for 28 years.
They are always on the lookout for new members and Lynne is keen to point out that it is not all about hitting and fighting and combat.
"We'd love to have more members up here," says Lynne. "Sometimes karate gets bad press but most of our two hour training sessions deals with fitness and cardio and we break the class down into Kata and sparring," she added.
There is also an incredible social aspect to the classes which take place on Wednesday evenings from 8pm until 10pm and on Sunday's from 11am to 1pm with members from the age of six years of age to Lynne herself who gladly accepts the oldest member title at a fit and healthy 61.
"We'd love more women too and it's a great way to keep fit and there are so many benefits," she added.
The team will head for Montreal this October with real hope of performing well in the World Championships and with the achievable goal of bring home titles to Wicklow.
"I'm doing sparring in the over-45 age group so I'll come up against some well-fit 45-year-olds so I mightn't win that but I look forward to the weapons component. I have a chance there because I really enjoy it. And Aisling and Conan have real chances as well," she added.