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Steven's a record breaker
YOUNG Steven Jones has made his way into the record books of Andover Aikido Club by becoming its youngest ever member to earn a first kyu' ranking - the equivalent of a junior black belt.
Steven, who is 12 and lives in Andover, took up the sport six years ago and has now reached the highest level possible for someone aged under 18.
He had to learn 12 different styles at the Isshinkai Aikido Academy in Fyfield and single-handedly face three adult attackers - known as ukes - to achieve the rank.
He said: "I started at the Andover Salto as my sister used to do gymnastics there and when we were waiting to pick her up, I saw an aikido class through the window and really wanted to do it.
"It's nice to be doing well.
"I definitely want to keep it up, but it was quite scary going aga-inst the three ukes."
The martial art is almost completely focused on defence.
It aims to take an opponent's attack and turn it against them. Due to its non-aggressive and non-competitive nature, there are no aikido competitions.
Steven's teacher, sensei Tony O'Connor, said: "He has done fantastically for someone of such a young age.
"To have three adults attacking him is something of a milestone.
"A lot of martial arts are strike-based, whereas Aikido is more of an attitude as well - if you approach it in an angry way it doesn't work so well, and he certainly has the right attitude and application."