Lottery cash boosts local sports club
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 June 2013
MARTIAL arts teach discipline, control and strength - lessons which young adults in Weston have absorbed through the help of a local sports club.
Social enterprise company Community Martial Arts and Fitness and business Combat Gym in Winterstoke Road have been awarded £6,000 in Sportivate lottery funding to run free alternative sports sessions.
These sessions – including MMA, muay tai, kick boxing and tai chi - have been taken up by a number of Weston people, with one man saying they have changed his life.
Michael Hazel, of Milton Brow in Weston, is autistic and said when he lost his job as a carpenter the sessions with director Kevin Ludick allowed him to regain focus.
He said: “I was living in supportive housing at the time and decided to try a few different sessions at the gym.
“Kevin has helped me with my anger, how to get on with people and how to make better friendships.”
The 21-year-old Weston College graduate has Asperger’s syndrome, which can cause problems in social situations.
He said: “Before the sessions I was getting into confrontations and getting angry at things that should not really bother me. This has helped me get over things like that.
“I have started doing more mai tai because I want to create a hobby for myself. I did not have anything to do or any real friends before.
“I’m interested in other types of martial arts but this one is particularly about discipline.
“It’s helped me learn how to keep calm and keep a sense of control in bad situations.
“Kevin has made me think about my life in a different way. Coming here has changed my life.”
The programme is aimed at those not currently engaged in sport and directors Kevin and Karen Jocquest will offer the sessions to all ages.
Phil Smith, who visits the gym with a team of youngsters from the youth offending service said the sessions are ‘invaluable’ to his group.
Phil, a drug worker with the substance advice team, said: “Health and fitness and martial arts are obviously a good thing in terms of encouraging people to cease drug use and offending.
“From my point of view, so many display very challenging behaviour and Kevin gives them a programme of intense physical training, then warm down sessions which are almost like meditation.
“It’s remarkable how this has affected our people in a positive way.”
Karen Jocquest added: “We have been using Sportivate funding for the past couple of years and with these sessions, one person can have up to six each.
“We have also been given a little extra funding to provide incentives for people to take up a healthier lifestyle, including discounts at the gym.
“It’s one of our goals to give the youngsters of Weston something to do.
“We have also had funding from Alliance Housing, the police and the Lions to help build on the gym. We are trying to improve it all the time.
“Community Martial Arts is to bring people in, get kids off the street and give them something to do to get them healthier.”
For more information, contact Combat Gym on 01934 412500 or visit www.combatgym.co.uk