A GROUP of older folk are getting a kick out of taekwondo classes with a difference.

Easy-paced sessions have been organised by one of the sport’s grand masters for those of a more mature age who prefer a gentle approach to their exercise.

Bryan Whiley, 65, has been teaching taekwondo for the past 33 years and when he semi-retired last year he decided to run classes for those of his generation – and older.

“It’s taekwondo without the high impact,” he said.

“We’ve adapted the style so it’s gentle. It’s beneficial to older people, as it keeps up their health and mental wellbeing, and by helping with flexibility, it improves their joints as well.

“A lot of doctors are now channelling patients towards exercise instead of medication, so I think these classes are very helpful for our members.”

The group meets at Butterknowle Village Hall on a Friday and attracts members from across the county. The oldest are 71.

Pat Johnson, 65, from Carrville, Durham, said: “I’ve always had high blood pressure and after 12 years it’s actually gone down after taking part.

“It’s really beneficial for your health and I’m much calmer now, as it’s a very controlled exercise.”

Liz Pentland, 68, from High Etherley, near Bishop Auckland, added: “The group has a good atmosphere and is very good for keeping up your general fitness.”

The Gentle Martial Arts class runs every Friday from 10.15am. Places are available. For further details contact Mr Whiley on 01388- 710855.