Martial arts classes for children and adults relaunch in Heath and Reach after pandemic hiatus

Martial arts classes have kicked into action in Heath and Reach to help people fight their fears.
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Instructor Colin Lawrence has relaunched his lessons at St Leonard's Church Hall after the pandemic put a stopper to his teaching for the first time in 35 years.

Participants can learn disciplines from Muay Thai to Jiu-Jitsu, while "respect, courtesy and discipline" are at the core of all classes.

Colin said: "There is so much to do; boxing, kickboxing, grappling, groundfighting…

Colin in action! Images: Colin Lawrence.Colin in action! Images: Colin Lawrence.
Colin in action! Images: Colin Lawrence.

"The aims all depend upon the person (child or adult): fitness, self defence, a new skill, learning a martial art or many, working towards a grading to black belt and above, addressing a fear of violence or bullying - all of these and much more.

"You can do it for six months or 60 years."

Participants will have the chance to learn Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), Taekwondo, Boxing, Kickboxing, Japanese and Brazilian JiuJitsu, Kali empty hand techniques (Panantukan), grappling (Dumog), weaponry (knife defence - adults only, and single and double sticks), Bruce Lee's JKD, and 'reality self-defence techniques'.

Myanmar Lethwai (Burmese Boxing) is also taught.

"It is the only martial art which uses the head, explained Colin. "Use of the head is an art in itself, and superb for self defence and awareness of what others can do to you.

"Fitness and flexibility feature strongly in my classes. Pilates, yoga, balance techniques. Serious stretching.

"Safety features strongly, too - and enjoyment!"

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Colin ensures that sparring is as safe as possible, with padding and strict rules, while "contact can be hard (to body), feather-light, or nil."

The instructor has been a schoolteacher for 40 years, and has been learning 12 martial arts for 45 years.

Through teaching, he enjoys seeing people confront fears of violence and bullying and seeing "so many people become less afraid".

He told the LBO: "Fear can ruin lives.

"I was beaten up too many times from a very young age. I always fought back but did not know really how, and was very small in a rough cultural environment.

"Martial arts gave me focus, sport, and an ever-evolving notion of real self-defence."

At the moment, classes are Wednesdays: 6.30pm - 7.30pm; Fridays 6.30pm - 7.30pm; and Sundays 6.30pm - 7.30pm in St. Leonard's Church Hall, Leighton Road.

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