FIVE-year-old Ashton Patrick will be pitting his wits against some of the world’s best fighters.

The boy from Oxford’s Barton estate is the youngest member of England’s junior team taking part in next month’s World Union of Karate-Do Federations (WUKF) Under-21 World Championships in Hungary.

He has been learning the martial art since the age of two, just months after learning to walk.

He said: “It is going to be fantastic. I have worked hard for it.

“I am also excited about going abroad.”

Ashton learnt his skills with Oxford Sport and Traditional Martial Arts (OSTMA), which teaches a wide range of martial arts across the county, including in Barton Community Centre.

Ashton will be competing in karate, but his classes cover a wide range of fighting styles.

He has a history of success having gained his first grade belt at the age of just three and at the time was believed to be one of the youngest in Oxfordshire to achieve apprentice red belt.

His father Phil Patrick, who has himself just won silver at the International Karate Cup in Romania, is an instructor with OSTMA.

Mr Patrick, 28, said: “It is fantastic. I have got great children going out next week.

“We get people travelling from all over the county to train here. It is a big family as well.

“I have always allowed Ashton to compete and to lose. He has learnt that it is okay to take a knock here and there.”

The Barton group will be sending nine people to the championships – making up a third of the 30-strong England squad.

Mr Patrick began training people in martial arts while at school and has been doing it full-time for more than 10 years. Forty children attend his classes, and there are adult classes as well.

OSTMA allows many of the children who attend its classes to come for free if they can’t afford it, on a case-by-case basis.

Some of them help out in class in return.

Ashton’s mother Verity Millett, who also works for OSTMA, said: “I would definitely suggest martial arts for children. It is good for flexibility and for concentration. It is also good for them to be disciplined as well.

“He has never fought in school and I have never had problems with him at school. Ashton is only allowed to do it within martial arts classes.”

Ashton also wears protection such as shinpads and a headguard when he fights.

As well as Barton, OSTMA also runs classes in Abingdon, Bicester and Woodstock.

The European Karate Championships take place from October 5 to 9. Ashton is the youngest member of the team.

The next oldest person from the Barton group will be nine-year-old Emily Valentine.


Danielle Lester (15)

Emily Valentine (9)

Joshua Valentine (11)

Anna James-Bott (15)

Jordan Collins (17)

Joseph Bonassisa (14)

Ashton Patrick (five)

Coaches Patience Kakite and Phil Patrick