Sporting Icon nominee – Tara Burndred
British Senior Ju Jitsu Champion and two-time WCJJO Ju Jitsu World Champion Tara Burndred turned 50 this year and she’s still competing.
Tara, from Oakamoor, combines her own sport with training others at The Tatsu Dojo at Draycott in the Moors.
She teaches Ju Jitsu, Tai Chi and facilitates Olympic-pathway Judo and has around 70 students ranging from five years to an 80-year-old who attends a Tai Chi class.
Tara is also committed to sharing martial arts and self-defence techniques in schools and the wider community including recently working with the NSPCC to stage personal safety courses in community centres.
“The NSPCC approached me, which was fantastic,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, personal safety is a skill you need but never want to use.”
Tara, who is a Fifth Dan, has been nominated as a Sporting Icon in the Your Heroes Awards.
Jennifer Thursfield said: “It’s Tara’s 40th year since hitting the mats and starting her Ju Jitsu journey. She is our sporting hero with her own achievements but now as a local coach to many children who need an outlet and some form of physical activity to work through their growing pains.
“She has the highest black belt awards and has young coaches on her mats locally. She deserves this award not only for all her efforts over the past three years to keep going through the pandemic but for 40 years of determination and effort in her sport.”
Tara’s husband, Anthony Burndred, said: “My wife has been teaching ju jitsu for the past 40 throughout Stoke-on-Trent. She has represented the city in national competitions and won gold numerous times.
“She is a two-time world champion plus her students are now becoming national champions. Tara always goes into schools in the area inspiring and motivating children to be the best they can be as well as working with victims of domestic abuse. 40 years in her sport and turning the age of 50 deserves some recognition.”
Tara said: “I’ve really chuffed that people would take the time to nominate me. There are a lot of people who complain in life, which makes it even nicer when people choose to give you a pat on the back. It’s a very nice feeling.”