Jim Inglis, 81, line danced for two and a half hours at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre as part of his second degree black belt exam. Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Jim Inglis, 81, line danced for two and a half hours at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre as part of his second degree black belt exam. Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Maple Ridge senior line dances for black belt

Jim Inglis line danced for two and a half hours to get black belt in taekwondo.

There is no slowing down for Jim Inglis in his senior years.

Not only has the 81-year-old been teaching line dancing two days a week for the past 15 years at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre and at the Pitt Meadows Seniors Centre.

Now he is taking his test for his second degree black belt in taekwondo.

Inglis started taking taekwondo with Bateson’s Martial Arts in 2005 and got his first degree black belt in 2010.

“What got me started was we started a group here at the seniors centre. We started off with 24 seniors and it was a special class that they set up for seniors to do taekwondo,” said Inglis.

Out of the 24, only three of them got their first degree black belts and Inglis was the only one to carry on.

“It gives you something to do that is different than the normal day to day routine,” said Inglis who enjoys the fun of the sport and the camaraderie.

Inglis practises taekwondo two to three times a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and more often if necessary.

Each class is an hour long.

“Sometimes I go for sparring on Friday nights,” he said.

“Then we practise at home to0, for certain things,” he continued.

Inglis has two teammates who are doing their second degree black belts with him.

First they have to pass a fitness portion. Usually students would have to run 10 kilometers but Inglis was given two and a half hours of line dancing to do instead.

“Perry Bateson, master of the school, he’s the one who suggested it,” laughed Inglis, who started dancing at noon on Friday at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre, surrounded by ten of his line dancing students, with his wife and one of his team mates, Jake Pauls, watching on.

“I’m going to try it and see if I can last for two and a half hours,” he smiled confidently.

Inglis’ pre-test was on Monday at the Bateson Martial Arts studio. He was tested on his use of weapons like the Phillipine stick art called Arnis, and self defence techniques, methods of defending yourself and combinations of the more traditional taekwondo kicking and punching patterns.

The main exam called The Extravaganza, where they show friends and family what they learned, was on July 8 where the students were be awarded their black belts.

Inglis wishes more seniors at the centre would have kept up with the martial art.

“Quite often we hear of ladies getting their purses snatched for example. Well, there’s certain things you can learn to do to hang on to your purse without getting yourself injured. And if somebody attacks you, then there’s certain things that you can do to avoid being injured,” said Inglis.

The sport has also helped him with his balance because he has learned how to stand on one leg and kick out his other in front.

Inglis is also able to demonstrate how to block a kick in the gut by crossing his arms just over his stomach or by bringing an arm up bent at the elbow over his chest to block a punch.

He has also learned how to step out of the way to avoid contact all together.

Getting this black belt has been obviously more strenuous for the senior, and at his age he doesn’t think he will keep working towards the next degree.

But could he take somebody down in a dark alley?

“If I had to I think I could,” he laughed.