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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Carlisle's Britain's Got Talent star is youngest in world to get jujitsu licence

It has been five years since teenage choirboy Andrew Johnston wowed the judges to make it through to the final of Britain’s Got Talent.

Andrew Johnston photo
Andrew Johnston

Now he is hitting the headlines for another reason – after becoming the youngest person in the world to be granted a jujitsu teaching licence.

Turning 18 next week, the Carlisle singing sensation is still committed to a career in music. But when he is not singing at Carlisle Cathedral, Andrew spends many hours focusing on his jujitsu with teacher Andy McCormack.

His dedication has now earned him the title of 2nd Dan Black Belt, which he gained at a recent examination and grading held in Germany.

At the same time he received his Shidoin-Menkyo teaching license – an honour handed over personally by the world Grand Master of his discipline, Yasumoto Soke.

“I’m the youngest ever to be granted the teaching licence. It’s a real honour,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of hard training but I’ve also had a lot of support.”

Andrew, who came third in the national TV talent show at the age of 13, has always been interested in martial arts, but only took up jujitsu about three years ago after finding the Carlisle Motoha Yoshin Ryu, based at Atlas Works.

He spends about four nights a week training – and said he has found the discipline complements his singing.

“It’s all about focus and having the right mind set. You have to get in the zone. When you’re performing it’s the same,” he explained.

“It also teaches respect, humility and generally being a good human being. It’s also a lot of fun. They are all such really great guys.”

Andrew is still incredibly focused on singing. He plans to go to university, hopefully with one of the London conservatoires, next year to study voice and eventually make it in the world of opera.

But after securing the new teaching licence, he is now thinking of setting up his own jujitsu Dojo – again under the guidance of Andy – while he is away studying. In the meantime he will continue with his heavy training schedule, saying in jujitsu terms it is still only the beginning for him.

As he prepares to celebrate his 18th birthday, Andrew can’t quite believe it’s been five years since Britain’s Got Talent – which saw him gain national fame after almost bringing hard-faced judge Simon Cowell to tears.

“It does seem strange looking back. Since then I’ve just been focused on getting my exams and my singing.

“Once my voice changed I had to work hard to train it back up again. Opera is what I want to do – everything I’m doing is working towards that. I’m still at the cathedral most days, I sing with the lay clerks now, and am also in the National Youth Choir,” he said.

“I like to keep busy. I’m not the kind of person who can sit around doing nothing.”

Jujitsu instructor Andy said he works incredibly hard.

“His dedication to hard training and focussing on overcoming the many obstacles that have arisen are the secret to his success. It’s very rewarding for myself and our dojo instructors to watch Andrew develop and grow past any of our expectations. He’s made amazing progress for someone so young,” he said.

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