A MAN who defied the odds to become a martial arts Grand Master has died at the age of 51 following a battle with terminal cancer.

Born on the Isle of Wight on January 1, 1970 and raised in Longmead Road in Ryde, Grand Master Robin Ford IX Dan became interested in martial arts at a young age.

Completing his schooling at Ryde High School, his fascination with taekwondo and karate began with regular training sessions at both school and the local town hall, achieving his first black belt while training on the Island.

Mr Ford further honed his taekwondo skills abroad, visiting Canada and Greece for training and passing on his knowledge to others. In 2019 he travelled to Sardinia in Italy for the World Championships.

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Isle of Wight County Press: Grand Master Ford during a training session

Relocating to Boston, Lincolnshire, Mr Ford set up an award-winning taekwondo studio, teaching the martial art to students of all ages.

Having got married to first wife, Harriet in 1993, his son, Connor, was born in 1994.

Connor followed in his father's footsteps to gain his first blackbelt at the age of just six - the youngest person in the country to have done so at the time.

Grand Master Ford met second wife, Caroline, in 2010 and they started dating two years later before tying the knot in October, 2020.

A love of wolves led to Mr Ford owning and breeding wolf-dog hybrids, and he cherished his time alongside his beloved animals.

They were the inspiration behind his Lone Wolf Wear clothing range, which he screen printed, designed and marketed with the fitting slogan 'Born To Stand Out'.

In 2018, he was faced with the news of a malignant mole inside his left eye, with the cancer having a good recovery success rate if the eye was removed.

Mr Ford took the brave decision to go ahead with the surgery.

Amazingly, his dedication to his students meant he returned to the Dojo within two weeks, having been expected to be absent from teaching for at least three months.

Grand Master Ford learned he only had three to six months to live in the second half of 2020, following a misdiagnosis weeks earlier which led him to believe he had up to five years.

His undiminished desire to live life to the fullest saw him achieve his Taekwondo 9th Dan Grand Master on January 9, 2021, the day before he died.

He adored his son Connor, who he considered his best friend, as well as step-children Jack and Charlie, and was in return loved by his family.

In addition to Caroline, Connor, Jack and Charlie, Grand Master Ford leaves behind granddaughters Mia and Elsie and parents Robert and Barbara.

Devoting his life to his students and their learning, it was with great sadness to the throngs whose lives he touched that he died on January 10.

Grand Master Ford's funeral is being organised by son Connor and will be live streamed via a private Facebook group from 2.30pm on Friday February 5.