KAYLA Cookson is aiming to pave the way for young martial artists in Lancashire.

Nineteen-year-old Kayla has been training at the Shin-Gi-Ruh Muay Thai Camp based off Whalley Range in Blackburn for five years. And next month she heads to Bangor to compete in her fourth fight.

Kayla holds an impressive portfolio of martial arts experiences having embraced Muay Thai, Jen-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Sokudo.

An all-round asset to the gym, Kayla currently coaches and trains at the gym while representing Shin-Gi-Ruh in fights with other martial artists all over the UK. She simultaneously trains and coaches at a local Sokudo Club where she has achieved the prestigious 1st Dan blackbelt.

As a result, she’s been coaching weekly girls and women’s session under the guidance of instructors Kru Zubear Isssap, Kru Mohammed Hanif Mall and Kru Saeed Adam.

She will be fighting against Ffion Williams, 20, from Rowlands Gym in Bangor, on March 14. The coaches have no doubt that Kayla’s courage and focus will shine through.

Kayla said: “I am looking forward to the fight – the fourth of many. Training is tough and I’m constantly being pushed to my limits, but it makes me stronger and more resilient.

"With so many barriers to girls in sport, it’s even more important to me to lead by example and bring it home for my club.”

She currently studying sports and exercise science at the University of Central Lancashire as well as coaching various sports at clubs across the borough.

Instructor Kru Zubear Isssap said: “ Kayla is a true role model for each and every student at Shin-Gi-Ruh.”

For more information on girls and women’s sessions at the centre call 01254 405284 or 07388871184. Alternatively, you can email Shin-giruhmuaythai@hotmail.com