A GROUP of high-kicking karate kids are skipping the light fantastic in a reality TV competition.

Jump Nation, an X Factor-style CBBC programme which aims to find Britain’s best skipper, airs on Saturday mornings on BBC 2.

It follows dancers, hip-hop groups and circus acts as they train in workshops to put their own personal touch to the game of skipping using their special talents.

And a four-strong team from the Oxford Martial Arts Group have been perfecting their own karate kicking style of skipping in the hope of securing a place in the final.

Dan Casey, 13, from North Oxford, Lewis Dark, 14, from Wolvercote, Yasmina O’Sullivan, 11, from Marston, and Nisha Hare, 12, from Botley, form Team Taurus.

Mary Stevens, 38, a teacher at Oxford School of Martial Arts, said she could not reveal too much about the pre-recorded show but that the children had really enjoyed filming.

She said: “Everyone had a great time. The schedule was pretty tough, the kids were doing up to 15 hour days. They worked really hard.”

In the first round, the group performed their first combination of skips, kicks, holds and rolls to the Prodigy song, Omen.

The latest episode, which is aired tomorrow, saw them compete onstage in a ‘skip off’.

Julian Dark, father of Cherwell School pupil Lewis, said the show had been a fantastic experience for the children.

He added: “It’s exactly the same format as X Factor.

“The kids have got really good discipline and drive, which must come from being in the karate school.

“They did everything to the best of their ability. I think knowing they were going to be on TV really made them want to do well.”

Four out of the nine episodes have been shown and Ms Stevens is hoping the people of Oxford will continue to tune in to watch the group’s progress.

She said: “It is a really well produced show, and it’s nail-biting stuff at some points. The team have done so well though.

“They have done Oxford proud. It’s great to see local children do well on a national show.”

awilliams@ oxfordmail.co.uk