As well as creating a real buzz in education and in the community, Hornets Martial Arts is having a profound impact on its members who have just successfully completed a tough four-hour grading.

Experienced martial arts instructor Ian Reynolds, who runs Hornets’, also puts students and staff through their paces in a free self-defence class that he runs at King Ethelbert’s School in Birchington, where he is senior IT Technician.

He said: “I know what a major impact learning a martial art can make to people’s lives. In the right environment, it can be very disciplined and be very character building. It also allows the student to become more self-aware, to build their confidence and to be keen to explore their own potential”.

 “My aim as an instructor is to try and make a difference to people’s lives and to pass on the knowledge I have gained from my own martial arts journey. I have had the privilege to train under some truly great instructors over the years and I continue to train under them, learning something new from every class and integrating it into my own classes.”

Daniella Young, 16, said: “Learning self-defence for a girl of my age is a very important skill and I really enjoy learning these great techniques that can be so simple, yet so effective. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, whilst learning a useful life skill at the same time.”

“I first started with the aim of keeping fit and a means of stress relief. My experiences so far have been amazing. Everyone there is so friendly and welcoming, always happy to help me if I don’t understand or to better my techniques “.

She convinced her dad, Mark to join her. He said: “As a father, I’m not afraid to admit I’m overprotective of my daughter and I’m always anxious about when she goes out on her own or even with her friends.”

“You see stories in the news and on TV of kids getting picked on or even attacked for no reason and I need to know she is safe and can look after herself. Hornets Martial Arts ticked all the right boxes and now gives both of us the opportunity to learn some real-life self-defence skills in a relaxed, friendly and controlled environment.

“We have both recently completed and passed our yellow sash grading. I was especially pleased as, even the ripe old age of 44, this was the first martial arts belt I’d ever received.”

Ian added: “It’s great to be able to take someone with no previous self-defence experience, a blank slate, and to see them absorb these skills like a sponge. Building their strength, stamina, and flexibility, whilst giving them the confidence in knowing they now have the tools to defend themselves if needs be yet being self-aware enough to avoid or get themselves out of potentially dangerous situations in the first place”.