IT is known as the way of the foot and the fist – and for one local mum it is also the best way to unwind after a hard day’s work.
Now, Mags Ford has been crowned a taekwondo world champion, after a trip to her son’s class convinced her to get back on the matt after more than 20 years.
Mags, from Livingston, had given up the sport more than 25 years ago but her love for the martial art was reawakened as she watched son Josh, nine, from the sidelines.
After months of being nagged by her coach to enter the ITF World Cup in Brighton on October 5, the reluctant star now has a gold medal in the veterans class to show for her efforts.
The 46-year-old, who trains up to five nights a week at the Pro-Edge gym club run by Robin Blair, also bagged a silver medal in the patterns discipline, which tests each competitor’s technique. High-kicking Mags praised the full contact sport as “the ultimate stress reliever” from her busy role as mum to Josh and her job as deputy services manager with Lothian and Borders Police.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was stood on the podium. I’d gone to Brighton quite nervous and excited, winning the gold was just fantastic.
“I had long given up the sport but three years ago I began bringing Josh along and pretty soon I was itching to get in there and get involved.
“I always thought of it as a good way to keep fit and I never thought of entering any competitions. It was Robin who eventually persuaded me to give it a go, I’m glad he did. My son’s dead impressed, he thinks I’m wonderful now.”
Married to Graham, 46, she added: “I really do recommend it as a stress reliever. It’s a great way to release some pent up energy. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband and son, they’ve had to put up with a lot throughout my preparation for the tournament because I was training five or six times a week.”
Mags beat competitors from Finland and England to finish top. She was also given the award of best overall performer in the veterans category.
Coach Robin said: “I always knew that she could hold her own, she’s very fast and very strong, and that’s why I spent so long talking her into it.
“She’s very modest about it all but she puts the hard work in each week. It’s a great way to keep fit at any age.”
Mags wasn’t the only member of Livingston’s Pro-Edge club to bag a medal at the championships either. Ronnie Dewhurst and Mike Leask were part of the Scotland team that won gold in the mens’ patterns competition.
Ronnie, 44, a Sky News cameraman and 38-year-old Mike, a detective with the Lothian and Borders force, were part of the Scottish team which beat rivals from England, Poland and Sweden.