A feisty pensioner has won his second black belt in karate at the ripe old age of 75.
Joe Thornton came to the martial art late in life – aged 62.
After retiring from his rail network job, Joe took up the hobby to the surprise of his family.
Now 13 years later, the pensioner is still fighting fit reaching a major milestone of double black belt.
Joe, from Canvey Island, Essex, said: “I took up karate at the age of 62. I have always come to things late in life. When I retired, I was looking for something to do and saw karate classes and thought I would get involved.
“When I first went to observe, I wasn’t sure if it was for me but everyone was so friendly.
“At my first session they asked me to touch my toes and I said ‘You’re having a laugh aren’t you?’ but now I can do it.”
Proving you’re never too old to learn new tricks, Joe trains four times a week on an Essex industrial estate with sessions lasting between one and two hours.
With two black belt dans, Joe is now considered to be an assistant teacher.
He added: “It was really hard work when I first started. My missus said I would never keep it up which, of course, only motivated me more.
“For anyone that is getting on a bit it really is great exercise. I would certainly encourage anyone to give it a go.
“It beats sitting in an armchair and watching the TV. I have met some great people. The youngsters are wonderful and all have great respect for everyone.”
The pensioner’s Sensei, Pat McLuskey, said: “Joe is an inspiration to everyone that gives up sports or wants to re-take up sports later in life as he has achieved a lot.
“He found the people at the club very warm and welcoming which helped him gain confidence, flexibility and strength.”
As well as wanting to keep fit, Joe also took up karate to learn self-defence and feel safer when he is out and about.
Joe said: “If anything happened then karate would help as it has boosted by confidence as well.”