Belper man books his place in martial arts hall of fame

Charles Spring in mid-air action at the University of Derby's Buxton campus. Picture submitted.
Charles Spring in mid-air action at the University of Derby's Buxton campus. Picture submitted.

Belper sports lecturer Charles Spring has taken his place among Olympians, world champions and the man who taught Elvis Presley to fight after being inducted into the Martial Arts Illustrated magazine’s hall of fame.

The honour comes as University of Derby teacher Charles publishes his first book, which tracks how the university’s Buxton campus became the first in the world to create a martial arts degree. This year, 22 German exchange students will be coming to Buxton to pick up their degrees

Charles’ book, Martial Arts: Applications in Higher Education, “provides a wonderful entry for those seeking to study the martial arts,” said Professor Keith R Kernspecht, Germany’s so-called Kaiser of Kung Fu’, who has worked with him to create the BA in the Theory and Practice of Martial Arts.

He added: “This book is much more than just a description of the bachelor course, its origins, content and structure – it gives readers background and basic knowledge that stimulates them to think and conduct their own research into the scientific aspects of the martial arts.”

Charles said: “It’s the only martial arts bachelors degree in the world that I’m aware of. People in the UK still tend to think that martial arts is just really a hobby – they haven’t caught up with the fact that it is a career and a profession.”

Graduates, especially those in Germany, go on to be instructors, or run their own schools, in what is a growing industry.

Bob Sykes, editor of Martial Arts Illustrated, said the panel of experts which decides who is admitted to the hall of fame look for those who have made an outstanding contribution. Current members include Bill Wallace who has the fastest kick in the world, reaching 70mph.