Express & Star

The Wolverhampton karate kid who went on to be an MBE

A karate teacher who has served his community for decades has been awarded an MBE.

Dr Joshua Johnson receiving his MBE

Dr Joshua Johnson has been teaching the ancient martial art since 1978 when he first opened the JJ Karate Academy.

The school, located at the Graiseley Centre in Pool Street, Blakenhall, has seen a number of champions come through the ranks, having their talent nurtured by Dr Johnson.

The 68-year-old was awarded his MBE by Prince William at a "once in a lifetime" ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

Dr Johnson with his MBE and family members Ellana, Rashae, Natalie and Naomi Hobbs

He said: "It was a long day and I'm very tired, but it was so exciting for me and my family, an incredible occasion.

"It was once in a lifetime, it was a very proud moment for me.

"Meeting Prince William was very thrilling and touching, it seems so unreal, I can't believe it happened to me, it was a moment to treasure.

"There are many people who do good work in the Wolverhampton community so it's an honour for me to be recognised.

Dr Johnson receiving his MBE from Prince William

"My father, Radcliffe Ellis Johnson came to Stafford in 1944, during the Second World War, aged 22, so this has been a big journey for my family from where we were to me now receiving an MBE.

"He passed away 10 years ago now and I know he'll be looking down smiling on me and saying 'that's my boy'.

"I haven't got any other celebrations planned but I want to do something with the students, they made all this possible.

"The students come to me for one hour from their families and for the rest of our lives we are a family together."

Dr Johnson, who lives in Whitmore Reans, first came to Wolverhampton when he moved from Jamaica as a 16-year-old and quickly turned his hand to the sport.

He fell in love with Wolverhampton and has called it home ever since.

He added: "It's the city that I love and I want to give back, I've achieved so much in my time - I want to thank the people of Wolverhampton for making this all possible.

"The sincere warmth of the people of Wolverhampton is what makes me love the city so much

"I was 16 when I arrived in England and the 1960's was tough, we had to educate ourselves on the streets and look after ourselves and then I got into karate.

"I started to look after myself and then I ended up looking after other people and passing my skills onto them."

The well-established club is still running to this day with Dr Johnson at the forefront of training and teaching and he's showing no signs of slowing down.

He said: "We've had local, national and international champions come from our academy and we're doing our best to continue producing them - I'm very proud of what we've achieved with local people.

"The club is still running and I'm still training now at my age."

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