Martial arts and self-defence school Plan C Training is celebrating its 5th anniversary.

April 1st will mark five years of business for the gym based on Worle’s High Steet, but 2024 as a whole also brings five years of living, and striving, with Parkinson's disease for creator and chief instructor of the gym Phil Churchill.

Phil started Plan C training after his diagnosis of Parkinson's meant he could no longer teach at a traditional martial arts school, with the aim of providing a space that was inclusive for all to work out, regardless of physical ability, gender, or anything else.

Since it’s grand opening Plan C has provided martial arts classes for hundreds and hundreds of people, both adults and children, many of whom have struggled with disabilities or mental health issues.

There are also general fitness classes, circuit sessions, and women’s only self-defence classes that have started up since the gym's establishment.  

Throughout their time teaching and coaching, Plan C have helped students who are autistic, have physical disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy or are confined to a wheelchair, and even a student/instructor who is registered blind.

Jane Churchill, Phil’s wife and also a key member of the gym, spoke about Phil and how his classes have impacted people of kinds from the local area. She said:

“When you first think of martial arts you think ‘I won’t be able to kick like that’, or ‘I won’t be fit enough’, but having Phil with Parkinson’s and him being very open about it is inspiring for people.

Weston Mercury: Phil Churchill has helped hundreds of students overcome adversity since opening Plan C TrainingPhil Churchill has helped hundreds of students overcome adversity since opening Plan C Training (Image: Plan C Training)

“It sort of says, this doesn’t matter, you can still get involved, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a disability, if you’re worried about your fitness or confidence.

“A lot of people think of martial arts as just fighting but there is so much more to it than that.

“We’ve had so many people come in and their confidence and self-esteem are completely different.

“It is so much more than just fighting; it’s such a confidence builder and it gives people the confidence to think that actually they can get involved with anything.

“Phil’s inspiring in that way, he carries on and faces his disability and he adapts to it.”

The company now also aims to start providing classes in schools to help provide an outlet for children who need it.

Jane explains: “My background is teaching children with special needs, so I’m hoping to work with a couple schools and start a special needs class because it helps focus attention, and discipline, and self-esteem, it’s amazing for things like ADHD.

“And some children don’t know how to target their anger and frustration, and this really helps because they know this is the place to do it, to let off steam, and then the rest of the time it really helps them to focus.

“And it teaches them some respect for themselves, it really helps focus that.

“We just really want to show that martial arts isn’t just fighting, it’s really beneficial to both children and adults.”

So, if you’re wanting to try out some martial arts, or even just a fitness class, but don’t have the confidence, I think I know a guy who can help.