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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbria martial arts guru lands lead role with film star Chuck Norris

Martial arts instructor Iain Abernethy has been rubbing shoulders with movie legend Chuck Norris in Las Vegas.

Chuck Norris photo
From left, Ken Gallacher, Chuck Norris, Steve Giroux, Iain Abernethy and Aaron Norris

Action star Norris hand-picked the 40-year-old to be the principal instructor at his annual martial arts training event.

And last month Iain, of Cockermouth, jetted out to Las Vegas to fulfil his role at the International Training Conference.

The 40-year-old, who has been teaching martial arts in his home town for the past 25 years, was such a hit with the legendary Norris that he is hopeful he’ll be invited back next year.

Iain’s unique style of martial arts has seen him teach all over the world, but he said he’s never had an opportunity like this in his life.

“To be invited to teach there is one of the highest forms of recognition a martial arts instructor can have,” he said.

“It was therefore a massive honour and a career highlight to be recognised in this way. It firmly puts me on the world stage and I don’t think it’s possible to get a higher accolade than this.”

During the three-day event Norris, known for his action roles in films such as The Way of the Dragon where he stared alongside Bruce Lee, popped in to see how things were going as well as attending the formal events.

Iain said: “He was very humble, friendly, warm and witty. Chuck and his brother, Aaron, both had a laugh about my Cumbrian accent as they had never heard it before.

“I’ve obviously been a fan of both Chuck Norris the martial artist and the movie star since I was a child. It was therefore a great thrill to meet him and to have what I do recognised by him in this way.

“Above all else, it is amazing to have the approach developed in our club in Cockermouth recognised by one of the world’s most famous and iconic martial artists.”

A formal dinner was held at the end of the conference where Iain was presented with a plaque by Norris to thank him for his contribution.

To add to Iain’s glory, he has also been told by the organising committee that he was one of the most, if not the most, popular instructors they have had at the event.

“To hear that really was the icing on the cake and I’m just hoping it means they will invite me back for a second time,” he said. And it is looking likely that they will do just that, as Iain received a promising email from organisers yesterday.

Norris will hit our screens later this month when he stars in The Expendables 2 alongside other movie greats such as Sylvester Stalone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Jason Statham.

Anyone interested in taking beginners’ classes with Iain can contact him on 01900 829406 or by emailing iain@iainabernethy.com

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