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Caithness martial arts instructor has top women’s ranking in Scotland


By Alan Hendry

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Students from Kuk Sool Won of Caithness at the annual Scottish tournament and national testings in Bathgate.
Students from Kuk Sool Won of Caithness at the annual Scottish tournament and national testings in Bathgate.

Caithness Kuk Sool Won instructor Cath Smith has become Scotland’s highest-ranking female exponent of the Korean martial arts system.

Cath travelled to Norwich to be promoted to 6th degree black belt by Grandmaster Kuk Sa Nim In Hyuk Suh, 10th degree black belt. The promotion makes her one of only two 6th Dahn ladies in Britain.

She took up Kuk Sool in November 1990, in the same year as the Caithness club began.

Cath (67) said: “I have to thank Master Martin Ducker, 8th degree, and Master Donald Mackenzie, 7th degree, who brought Kuk Sool Won to Caithness in 1990.

“And I must mention Master Alison Ducker, 7th degree black belt, who was a great inspiration to all women in our art and who sadly passed away in November 2021

“I would also like to congratulate Master Don Mackenzie on his promotion to 7th degree black belt.”

Cath Smith was promoted to 6th degree black belt.
Cath Smith was promoted to 6th degree black belt.

Earlier, students from the Thurso-based school had travelled to Bathgate in West Lothian for the annual Scottish tournament and national testings.

Fraser Martin, 2nd degree black belt, tested towards third degree. Ellis Macdonald and Markus Pinzariu, 1st degree black belts, tested towards 2nd degree black belt.

Amber Farquhar, Adam Macdonald, Maria Pinzariu, Casian Damian and Mackenzie Sutherland all tested towards 1st degree black belt.

They all took part in a two-and-a-half-hour testing in which they put into practice everything they have learned from white belt through to their latest skills.

“They all did their school proud and they will hopefully promote next year,” Cath said.

After testing the students took part in the tournament in forms, techniques, sparring and weapons.

Results: Ellis Macdonald, 4th in sparring, 1st degree black belt 15 to 17 years; Markus Pinzariu, 4th for staff form, 1st degree black belt 13 to 14 years; Calder Macdonald, 2nd in sparring, 1st degree black belt 13 to 14 years.

Adam Macdonald, brown-black belt five stripes and over 9 to 12 years, 4th for sparring, 4th for staff; Maria Pinzariu, brown-black five stripes and over 9 to 12 years, 3rd for staff and 3rd for sparring.

Casian Damian, brown-black five stripes and over 9 to 12 years, 4th in forms; Mackenzie Sutherland brown-black four stripes and under 13 to 17 years, 4th for techniques.

Classes are held at E’ Shed, off Naver Road in Thurso, on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Sessions run hourly, from 6pm to 7pm for four to eight-year-olds; from 7pm to 8pm for the 9-12 age group; and from 8pm to 9pm for those aged 13 to adults.

For information about the club, call 07788 744298 or 01847 894471.

Students from the Thurso-based Kuk Sool Won of Caithness.
Students from the Thurso-based Kuk Sool Won of Caithness.

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