'Calm, graceful and kind': Tributes paid to martial arts world champion
- Credit: The Ducker family
Tributes have been paid to one of the highest-ranking female martial artists in the world.
Alison Ducker trained and examined thousands of Norfolk children in the art of Kuk Sool Won - as well as her own two children Rachel and Jay.
As well as running two schools in Halesworth and Lowestoft, Alison was often found competing and examining on the mats at the Kuk Sool Won school in Norwich.
Alison's love of martial arts began as a teenager, as daughter Rachel explained: "My mum used to watch my dad train as a teenager. One day when she was about 17 an instructor pulled her into one of their classes. It was instantly obvious she was a natural.
"She had a photographic memory and had the physique for the martial art. But she also moved with such poise and grace - she demanded attention when she was on the mat."
Alison, from Halesworth, trained her own children to be national, European and World champions as well as working with countless more.
She was set to be awarded her seventh Dan Master before her death on November 6, marking 30 years of dedicated training.
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"My mum had always encouraged my dad to train more. Then on the day I was born in 1987 my dad announced he had quit his job and wanted to work on martial arts full time.
"I think my mum was a bit shocked - she'd just had a baby.
"But they launched their schools and were successful. My dad was always the frontman and my mum was more of the silent power.
"Dad teaches fast but mum always took her time with her pupils - she wanted to offer them really quality training," Rachel explained.
And because of their talents in the art form the family saw fame all over the world.
"Because mum was always so high ranking she was always judging at the school in Norwich as that's where all of the competitions are held," she explained.
"But we also had to go much further afield. We used to travel to Houston in Texas a lot as that's where the world championships were held.
"We also travelled to Korea, where we as a family opened the National Demonstration Centre live on KBS. More than 15,000 people watched it.
"It was something which really bonded us as a family. My dad's motto is: 'A family that kicks together, sticks together.'"
The family's talents also propelled them into the limelight at celebrity events.
"We did a piece at David and Victoria Beckham's World Cup white tie and diamonds party," Rachel said.
"It was so surreal. I remember we were all a bit overwhelmed but mum was so calm. She had this little twinkle in her eye though so we knew she was excited."
But Alison's impact went far further for those who worked closely with her.
"Until she died we hadn't really appreciated how many people she'd had a profound impact on. And then the tributes started flooding in from all over the county.
"For me seeing mum it showed me how powerful women can be. Because she ranked so highly often there weren't other women to compete with, so she had to compete against men. And she would win gold.
"It was so inspiring to me - and I suspect to many other women - to see my mum win in a man's world."
Alison also "adored" her grandsons, Rachel's children Leo and Indie.
"Mum was so looking forward to being a grandma. She only met Indie once before she passed away as he was born ten weeks ago.
"The only silver lining I can find in this is that her memory is living on in my boys," Rachel said.
The Kuk Sool Won of Norwich school wrote: "Alison was an inspirational martial artist who was incredibly strong yet calm, graceful and kind. She will be dearly missed by all that knew her."