Martial artist turned dancer Rebecca Kane will take on the experts at the World Irish Dance Championships in Killarney.

And the 31-year-old, who runs a Thai kickboxing academy in Huddersfield, wants to win to honour her mother, Marcella, who died last year.

Rebecca was stunned and delighted when she won the British title at the British Open Championships of Irish Dancing last month following a three-year lay-off due to illness.

Now, after qualifying for the 2017 world championships, she is gearing up for six months of training prior to competing against top-class dancers from more than 20 other countries including Ireland, next April.

For Rebecca, who was introduced to Irish dancing aged six by her mother, it is a bittersweet feeling.

“I was overwhelmed when I won, just shocked,” she says.

Irish Dancing Champion Rebecca Kane - Kane Academy, St. James Road, Marsh.

“But to go back to Killarney will be very emotional. The last time I was there was with my mum. To win a medal would be amazing; to come back the winner would be the ultimate for me. That would be the icing on the cake.”

Rebecca’s training regime will involve early morning runs three times a week along with new programmes tailored to existing health issues around a long-standing chest infection. She adds: “Psychology will be the biggest thing along with a ‘can do’ attitude. Getting to the world championships is a big deal. It’s not going to be easy.”

Rebecca Kane of Kane Academy

She points out that martial arts and dance are two completely different disciplines. And her future plans involve pursuing a teaching qualification in Irish dance with the World Irish Dance Association, which will allow her to offer solo and group training at her Kane Academy in Marsh as well as potentially working as an adjudicator on competitions around the world.

Ladies line up to learn self defence skills in Fartown

She hasn’t abandoned Thai boxing. In addition to training for the world championships she is keen to go back into martial arts tournaments if her health permits.

“Whether I am setting my sights too high, I don’t know. I am concerned about the impact on my body from shin-to-shin contact so I decided to do the Irish dancing to get back into it. I worked with my trainer Sean Connolly and he has kept me focused for the last 12 months.

“I don’t think we have ever had anyone from Huddersfield who’s won a national award in Irish dance. I’m flying the flag for the town.”