Marshall arts!

Karate black belt family, Barry and Paula Marshall and their children Alex (15) and Caitlin (13), of Branton Avenue, Hebburn. The family train at the Reby Community Centre, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.
Karate black belt family, Barry and Paula Marshall and their children Alex (15) and Caitlin (13), of Branton Avenue, Hebburn. The family train at the Reby Community Centre, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.
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MARSHALL by name, martial by nature.

Meet the family you would definitely not want to mess with.

All four members of the Marshall clan have reached black belt level in karate after years of punishing practice.

Mum and dad Paula and Barry have now joined son Alex, 15, and daughter Caitlin, 13, in gaining the qualification in the Japanese martial art.

The quartet train twice a week at Redby Community Centre, Fulwell Road.

Software developer Paula, 45, explained her and her husband’s decision to take to the mats.

“The instructors started up a class for parents a few years ago and we thought it would be nice to join in something with my children,” she said.

For Paula and Barry, 49, a Royal Mail worker, the chance to take up a new activity was too good to turn down.

Paula added: “It’s a good social thing I think. We used to watch when Alex and Caitlin were doing it so when we started going ourselves we’d picked up a few things.

“It gives you a lot of confidence.

“You get to 40 and you find yourself running around after your children, so it’s good to get out and do things.”

Any potential burglars will now be wary of chancing their arms at the family’s home.

“You kind of hope that by doing it you would be able to look after yourself, but we are not the kind of people to do that,” added Paula.

“Karate most of all teaches you respect and discipline.

“It’s really good and it even gave me the confidence to join a badminton club.”

Instructor David Jenkinson, who has taught all four of the family, hailed their achievement, saying: “It’s very unusual.

“I’ve been an instructor for 30 years and you sometimes see maybe a dad and a son doing karate but not the whole family.

“It’s a big achievement and everybody is over the moon for them.

“They are very dedicated.”

Caitlin has already gone one further by becoming a second dan black belt.

“She’s very keen and she even wants to become an instructor when she is older,” added Paula.

Twitter: @davidallison88