1st Degree Black Belt
I discovered Fighting Fit when we decided that getting some basic martial arts training for our children was a good idea. So my daughter started attending a kids session each week when she was 5 years old at the New Malden Leisure Centre and I would go along and watch. A couple of years later she needed to go to a mixed class of adults, teens, and kids to be challenged a bit more. So she convinced me to go with her and join in.
I’ve never really looked back. Turning up that first Saturday in jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, supremely unfit, inflexible, in my late thirties and more than a little self-conscious, I was made to feel very welcome, and the classes catered for all abilities and ages. That’s one of the great things about Fighting Fit – there is a friendliness and inclusivity to it, and it never feels like you are trying to do the impossible, despite the extremely high standards that are expected for each grade.
Newcomers I’ve spoken to since then talk of ‘not having a natural ability’, but in my experience there are very few people that do (and I’m not one of them!), and with commitment, persistence, and determination, anyone can do it. I achieved my Black Belt in 2015 after 6 years – it is one of my greatest personal achievements and something I am very proud of. It’s not easy to get any grade from Mr Lloyd, let alone a black belt but anyone can do it if you are committed.
Becoming an instructor was an inevitable transition for me – I really enjoy helping people learn a new technique or do something they thought was impossible for them. And importantly, students feel confident, fitter, and safer when they leave the classes. Mr Lloyd often says that many fights are won in the mind, and having that inner confidence to hold one’s head up, walk tall, and appear fearless is as effective at keeping you safe as the fighting techniques themselves.
It’s a brilliant community and I encourage everyone, young or old to give it a try. That’s what I did, and I’ve never looked back! And both my kids still go along – my daughter now assists Mr Lloyd in teaching that same class that she started out all those years ago at New Malden Leisure Centre.