The Karate Kid: Nine-year-old martial arts expert Jesse Jane McParland shows off her moves after wowing Britain’s Got Talent judges
Most girls of her age would be playing games with their friends or practising things they have learnt in school.
But not nine-year-old Jesse Jane McParland, who prefers playing with swords.
Despite her young age, Miss McParland is already a world champion kick boxer, with an astonishing 117 martial arts titles under her belt.
Ready to chop her way into the final? Britain’s Got Talent star Jesse Jane McParland training at her family home in County Armagh, Northern Ireland
Fearsome: Jesse Jane isn’t your average nine-year-old
Her first movie Martial Arts Kid, also starring Cynthia Rothrock and Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, will be released this year, and in July she will start filming a film called Awakening with teen heartthrob Zac Efron.
Now she is hoping to add Britain’s Got Talent winner to her trophy collection after impressing the judges and audience with her incredible sword-wielding audition.
You wouldn’t guess it coming from the slight, blonde-hair girl, who appeared on the BGT stage to a chorus of ‘ah’s from the audience on Saturday night.
She told the judging panel she was there with ‘my daddy’ Gary, 36, – prompting more coos – because ‘my mummy’s at home looking after my two younger sisters’.
Film star: The youngster will appear in Martial Arts Kid before starring in Awakening with Zac Efron
Incredible: Jesse Jane has a whopping 117 martial arts titles under her belt
Karate kid Jesse impresses and terrifies judges on BGT
Impressing the judges: Jesse Jane wowed the audience when she performed on Saturday’s episode of BGT
Upside down: Jesse Jane flies through the air
Amanda Holden could be seen mouthing ‘sweet’ at Alesha Dixon, who described her as a ‘dinky little thing’.
But there was nothing sweet about the performance that followed, featuring armless cartwheels, back flips and, of course, the Irish schoolgirl’s incredible talents with her sword.
Miss McParland received a standing ovation and praise from all of the judges, including the notoriously hard to please Simon Cowell who joked he wanted her to become his bodyguard.
And hundreds of the 8.19 million viewers who tuned in to watch BGT on Saturday night took to Twitter to share their surprise.
Wax on, wax off: Perhaps Jesse Jane could have a role in a female remake of Karate Kid?
‘Jesse from BGT had me in tears. That was amazing! #BGT,’ wrote one. Another posted: ‘Jesse showed us how to get 4 yeses guaranteed!!’
Miss McParland has been practicing martial arts since the age of three, after deciding she wasn’t interested in the more traditional pastimes her mother wanted her to try such as ballet.
Last year she added sword work to her list of skills including kickboxing, kung fu and Tae Kwon Do, with which she has competed and won awards all over the world.
She trains with her coach Sensei Gary Kelly in Ireland four times a week, as well as master Jeff Scott in the UK.
And Miss McParland, who is the World Association of Kick Boxing junior world champion and stars in upcoming film Martial Arts Kid, is now hopeful for an Olympic career.
Winner: Jesse Jane has 117 prizes to her name
Last night Miss McParland’s mother Sinead, 37, said: ‘Martial arts is her passion and she has learned so much from it. Her dream is to one day be in the Olympics, JJ loves competing. Jesse Jane loves new challenges and always willing to learn a new style in martial arts so she wanted to do weapons and picked the sword.’
Miss McParland has two sisters – Molly Mae, six, and two-year-old Sugar Rae, both of whom have tried out their elder sister’s hobby.
Their mother said: ‘Molly Mae is a bad asthmatic and can’t really do the training. We had started her at it but she told us I don’t want to do that so we said that’s fine we let you choose what you want to do. Sugar Rae’s a bit small she tries to copy JJ but we will have to wait and see.’
One to beat: Jesse James has been tipped for the Britain’s Got Talent final
Miss McParland is not the only youngster to have captured viewers’ hearts after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent. 12-year-old Henry Gallagher won a standing ovation after auditioning with his heartfelt song Lightening, which is about a girl he likes at school.
Yesterday Gallagher refused to name the girl, disclosing only that she is in his year at school but not his class.
The girl in question does not know about his crush, but Gallagher said he hopes to summon the courage to ask her out to a date at the cinema.
Speaking about what attracts him to her, Gallagher, whose has written three other songs, including another one about the mystery girl, said: ‘She’s just… when I’ve seen her around school she’s always in a really good mood. I’ve never seen her be not happy and she’s just so pretty it’s just amazing.’
Gallagher said his music teacher mother Marie and father Sean were ‘really proud’ of him for auditioning.
- SSupportive: Jesse James with her father before her BGT audition earlier this year
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