Leighton Buzzard karate and kickboxing instructor launches 'Heikō - Mindful Martial Arts'

A determined local karate and kickboxing instructor is proud to have launched a new way of training for females in martial arts.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 2:06 pm

Jo Randall, 43, founded 'Heikō - Mindful Martial Arts', which offers a combination of martial arts training and meditation. Different to usual martial arts systems, the classes will not involve combat, competitions or gradings, therefore removing what can be an extra pressure and creating a welcoming environment for women of all shapes, sizes and abilities.

The classes are for females aged 13 upwards, and the friendly group is inviting females to come along and give it a try, no matter what your experience or level of fitness.

Jo said: "People don't normally associate martial arts with mindfulness, but when you are practising, your mind is focused on the movement, patterns, form and techniques.

Jo Randall models the new Heikō kit. Right: Jo in action!

"I'm reminding people of that by adding meditation at the start and finish, you can really tune in to how your body and mind are feeling.

"Women have different ebbs and flows throughout the month, much more so than men, so this class offers you a place where - if you are feeling tired or sluggish - you don't have to perform. The uniform is black too so allows for full confidence when training."

She hopes her students can improve strength in both body and mind, as after all, Heikō is Japanese for balance and equilibrium.

Explaining why her classes are exclusively for women, Jo told the LBO: "There are women who for cultural reasons cannot train with men, women who have had horrible experiences with men and women would simply rather be in a same sex class and also women who don’t want the combat side. So this class offers a place to feel safe and confident.

The public may recognise Jo's name, as she is the founder of the mixed contact karate and kickboxing club 'ECKA Leighton Buzzard'.

The determined businesswoman first began her training 18 years ago, and is now a 3rd Dan Black Belt in contact karate and has even trained with Shaolin monks in China!

Explaining her path into martial arts, Jo said: "It started off because a girl I knew and two of her friends were attacked, and I thought, maybe I should learn self-defence.

"I joined a club and was hooked. There is no feeling that's come close to how I feel when I'm training.

"I've made some phenomenal friends and when I went through some problems with anxiety in my late 20s it kept me going."

Jo is currently holding her 'Heikō - Mindful Martial Arts' classes on Zoom where new students can trial out a free class. Classes open in Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes from May 17. (Wednesday 10am at Astral Park, Leighton Buzzard, and Thursday 12.30pm and Sat 9.30am at Milton Keynes Gallery).

Leaving a review, one student said: " This isn’t just another exercise class. Jo is passionate about your physical and mental well-being. She gives such positive energy, that no matter what age, size or fitness you have, you will feel the benefit”.

Jo concluded: "I enjoy teaching because I get to share something I love. I've some amazing students who inspire me all the time. I am passionate about bringing a strong and positive community of females together to train and feel great!”

To contact Jo to trial a free class or join the waiting list for opening please email [email protected] or 07539873858. Website www.heikoclub.comHer mixed ECKA classes resume for children in April and May for adults. www.leightonbuzzardkarate.com