The Wokingham Paper

New martial arts club aims to welcome people of all abilities


A NEW martial arts club aims to ensure that everyone can join in – it’s open to children and adults of all abilities including disabled people.

Run by three Sensei – Martin Ridley, Martin Tompson and Roy Johnson – the club aims to teach self-defence through the Japanese martial art form Aiki-Jujitsu.

The standout feature of the group lies in its range of members, as both able-bodied and disabled individuals are welcomed. Speaking to The Wokingham Paper, Sensei Ridley said: “There are no clubs that we have come across that do what we are doing.

“Everyone trains together and everyone is welcome – we just train hard and have fun.”

The current children’s class, taught by Mr Ridley, includes members with visual impairments and learning disabilities, such as ADHD and autism. Ridley himself has cerebral palsy and is a black belt, third Dan in martial arts with 17 years’ experience.

The adult classes, taught by Mr Tompson and Mr Johnson, also include members with physical disabilities.

The youth lessons focus on how to escape potential attackers while adults can learn how to use sticks and knives to their advantage, and even swords on occasion.

“It is as much about self-defence as it is about changing lifestyle, working on physical fitness and improving wellbeing.”

The classes can improve pupils’ discipline and self-esteem, whilst also ensuring they become more alert to danger in day to day life.

Mr Ridley explained: “Confidence is one of the real issues for some our members when they arrive”, but the classes “can really bring them out of their shell”.

And two years ago he won the national Warriors Assemble award for his work in the disability martial art world.

The All Abilities Martial Arts is also a member of the British Combat Association.

The instructors currently host one class every Monday from 6pm to 7pm for children from five to 13, while classes for teenagers and adults run every Tuesday from 7.30pm to 9pm. They take place in Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell.

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