Mitch dedicates medal haul to mum Wendy

A martial arts enthusiast has dedicated a haul of trophies to his late mother, who got him into the sport.

Mitch Hopes took part in the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) Regional Championship in Middlesbrough in November.

Mitch went on to win gold, silver and bronze trophies for weapons, patterns and sparring in the black belt adult category.

He dedicated his successes to his mum Wendy, who died suddenly three years ago, aged 55.

Mitch, 32, said: “My mum was a keen martial arts student and it’s thanks to her I’ve been successful in it. I’d like to think I’ve made her proud.”

Mum-of-four Wendy first started training in Tang Soo Do in the late 1990s. She enrolled Mitch when he was aged seven, after he had been bullied.

Mitch is now a 1st degree black belt and world champion in the sport, which originated in Korea, is based on karate and includes influences from Korean and Chinese martial arts.

He said: “My mum got me into Tang Soo Do as I was quiet and had been bullied.

“She was a very loving, caring mother to her children. She was an inspiration to all those who were around her.

“I believe I’m much more confident, resilient and happier thanks to my training and I will be forever grateful to my mum.”

Mitch, who teaches a class in Hanham and trains in Chipping Sodbury and Downend, wants to pass on his experience.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to training students and seeing them progress so they can better defend themselves, get fit and possibly compete in the future.

“While it’s lovely to compete and win medals, I also enjoy the camaraderie of the art and events. It’s a chance to catch up with instructors from across the country and share knowledge and experience.”

Mitch’s uncle Ian Crook is a 2nd Dan black belt and his instructor at Downend Tang Soo Do club.

He said: “I’m very proud of Mitch. His hard work has paid off and I know his mum would be proud too.”

Mitch, an outpatient support manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, has run demonstrations and workshops for staff to promote well-being using the martial art, which has an emphasis on self-defence, physical and spiritual health and all-round personal development.

He said: “I find Tang Soo Do helps build confidence and resilience, while reducing stress.”

After winning two gold medals in his division at the 2022 Tang Soo Do World Championships in North Carolina, Mitch plans to defend his world title in the USA next year.

Tang Soo Do is practised by martial arts film star Chuck Norris and is also one of the styles that features in the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai, based on the 1980s Karate Kid films.

For more information about  Tang Soo Do call Ian on 0781 774 4689.