The head of the Royal Air Force has paid tribute to its sportsmen and women in the RAF's centenary year.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier was speaking at the RAF Martial Arts Championships at Cranwell.

He told Forces Network that disciplines like taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and karate sum up the what forces sports are all about:

"What strikes me most of all is just the physical fitness, the self-discipline and it's that controlled aggression. That's the thing which I think is most impressive."

"The standard is just fantastic, across such a range of disciplines as well.

"[There are] people with a lot of experience but also a lot of youngsters here as well, building up their experience and I think it just captures all of what is good about sport in the RAF.

"The sense of teamwork and the skill and professionalism, that's what it's all about really."

Sir Stephen went on to talk about how the RAF's athletes have performed in its centenary year, adding:

"It's been a great year... I think that centenary year gives everybody just that extra-special bit of impetus.

"It's [the] start of a whole year of fantastic events and sport is a critical part of that."

It's 100 years since King George V authorised the creation of the RAF as a new branch of the British military.

The Air Force was formed in response to the growing role of airpower in warfare, created by merging the aviation branches of the Royal Navy and British Army together into a single service.

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