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Judo coach, 90, earns second-highest grade in the martial art. He's the sixth in the UK to do so.

This is a special achievement as he is one of the only six people in the U.K. who have a dan in Judo, which is the second highest rank in the sport.

Judo coach, 90, earns second-highest grade in the martial art. He's the sixth in the UK to do so.
Cover Image Source: International Judo Federation

A 90-year-old man has earned a ninth degree, or dan, in Judo. He still does Judo every now and then and is a master at it. This is a special achievement as he is one of only six people in the U.K. who have a dan in Judo, which is the second-highest rank in the sport. The impressive senior, Michael Leigh, is the oldest judoka in the whole of the United Kingdom. He also set up the Kin Ryu Judo Club in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976 after he completed martial arts in 1955 in London. He was also a backup in the Olympics for the UK's 1964 team, as per Good News Network.



 

When he worked for the Royal Air Force, he had found a book on judo written by one of the founders of the London Judo Society in a shop and it "looked interesting." Later, he became the chairman of the Judo team for two terms. He also earned the positions of national coach and international referee.

“When I heard the news I couldn’t quite take it in,” Leigh wrote for his club’s news section. “Knowing that there are only five other people in the UK who have been awarded 9th dan, I find myself amongst peers I greatly admire and respect. I appreciate this recognition of my lifetime of commitment to the amazing sport of Judo and I will hold the grade with great pride and honor.”



 

His school was the largest in the country at a time with 520 members in three locations: Crawley, Horley and Horsham. “I’ve had a very interesting life, I’ve been to about 160 countries,” he told the BBC and also said that it was a "wonderful journey."



 

“I’m tempted to go on the mat but until my current disabilities go away I don’t think I’ll be able to,” he added. “I miss it very much, but everything has a beginning, middle, and end.” After the black belt, the judokas proceed to the tenth dan levels. However, it is believed that the last four are generally honorary with judges at the International Judo Foundation considering their lifetime achievements.



 

In another story about the achievement of a senior individual, we see "Grandma Great," 79, who is a proud "senior" student at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Sharon Barber had put school on hold to raise her family decades ago. After retiring as a substitute teacher with 16 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, she walks through the campus again.

"It was scary," Barber told CBS News. The first classes I took—my textbooks—I was like...'What even does this say? What does this mean?' I don't even know. So it was daunting at first." Her classmate Sonia Gonzalez is very proud of Barber. "There isn't a certain age to go back to school. And she proved that," she said.


 
 
 
 
 
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Barber, also known as "Grandma Great," is a famous TikTok personality with over 2 million followers. Her content inspires millions both on campus and on the internet. "I have 2.2 million TikTok grandchildren," she said. "I feel I'm making a connection with people." She is a living example of the fact that anything is possible regardless of your age. You can do everything you set your mind to as long as you have the drive and the courage. "Just do it," Barber said. "And just know that all you have to do is just do your best. That's all. It doesn't matter how old you are."

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