Black belt champ dead in forest

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A FORMER world champion martial arts expert from Scarborough has been found dead at the age of 49.

Steve Bishop, from Eastfield, was discovered in his car by dog walkers at a car park in Broxa forest, near Burniston.

Although police have not yet confirmed his identity he has been named by family as father-of-two Mr Bishop.

The former Raincliffe School pupil had stints as a security guard at the Brunswick Shopping Centre and Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, and had been working as a doorman at Mist bar in St Thomas Street.

Mr Bishop was in the final qualifying stage of the TV show Gladiators in 1998. He was a 4th Dan Black Belt in Aikido, taught martial arts to youngsters at his Bishido Arts Aikido Club at the Loders Green Scout Hut in Eastfield until a few years ago.

He also ran classes in Scarborough Market Hall, the Balmoral Centre, the Castle Community Centre and the former Budokan martial arts centre in Seamer Road.

A police spokesman said: “North Yorkshire Police were called at around 5.45pm on Friday after concerns for the safety of a man in a silver car in Scarborough.

“Officers located the vehicle at around 8.50pm later the same day in Reasty Bank car park and discovered the body of a 49-year-old local man inside.

“The man was pronounced dead at the scene and officers are satisfied that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

“A report will be prepared on behalf of the coroner.”

According to friends, his whole life “revolved around the sport”.

Bob Jones, chairman of the British Aikido Association, described Mr Bishop as an “incredibly talented” martial artist, but said his attitude “held him back considerably” early in his career.

He said: “I used to compete with and against him in the 1970s, and he was an excellent competitor.

“You could say though that, despite all his success, his talent was largely unfulfilled.”

Mr Bishop took up the martial craft aged 12 after being encouraged by his father to learn self-defence, and went on to win the 2002 World Aikido Kata championship in Japan.

However, he abandoned the sport after injuring his shoulder during a spell working on an oil rig.

His cousin Mick Ager, himself a national aikido champion, said: “He was just a happy-go-lucky bloke.

“Any problems that Steve had, he would always face them head on.”