Awards Spotlight - Walsall Elite Martial Arts
Introducing, Walsall Elite Martial Arts, Inspiring Youth Award Winner
How would you explain what you do to someone completely unfamiliar with your work, and what is your favourite aspect of the job?
We are a family run martial arts centre where we teach Tae Kwon Do and fitness classes within our community. We teach children from 4-10 years old with our Tigers Classes and Juniors, and Adults aged 11 years plus. Suitable for all ages and walks of life we have a unique and special club with a culturally diverse group of students who attend the club. We have a designated ‘ladies only’ zone with a female instructor to ensure ladies are comfortable within their training environment while learning the Korean Art of Self Defence. We have supported many of our students to achieve their goals, whether that be a Black Belt or becoming a World Champion!
Our favourite part of the job is we meet students from different cultures and backgrounds. We have taught students of more than 24 different nationalities. Some students who have attended spoke little or no English, but through the art of Tae Kwon Do have been able to practice their English and learnt more than just the art.
What is your proudest moment from the work you’ve done in your community? We had lots of community activities pre-COVID-19: coffee mornings, charity events to raise funds for local charities, etc.
We support many young people with their DoE (Duke of Edinburgh) award, helping students compete extra curriculum activities to build up transferable skills for use in other areas of their lives. We complete and help with the completion of references for employment, secondary schools, UCAS references for university, as well as support with appeals processes within secondary schools.
We have a tuck shop (pre-COVID-19) which was fully run by our young people. Giving them the responsibility of dealing with money, customer service, building trust and communication skills.
I think we are mostly proud of our students building their confidence and aiming high to reach their dreams.
What floats your boat outside of work? Walsall Elite Martial Arts is our hobby (outside work activity). Both dedicated instructors have full time jobs within education: Mr Rowley is a secondary school teacher and a single parent to his little girl (aged 5); Mrs Arms is a further education curriculum lead and a mum of two children (aged 7 and 12). We both find the time to dedicate our time to our students and our community.
What is your for vision for Walsall in the next five years, especially within your sector? What would need to happen and what support would be needed to make it a reality?
We would like to see Walsall continue to develop with more jobs and opportunities for our students. Within the martial arts community we need to, hopefully, weather this storm we are in currently as COVID places many restrictions on us being a contact activity/sport. At the moment we have transformed our centre to be a COVID-secure club with our new booking systems and ways of teaching. We will get through this together.
What have you learnt from the last six-eight months that you will be applying in your area of work going forward?
Well, since Walsall Elite Martial Arts has been running for the past 18 years, we have found the past 6-8 months a massive strain financially, mentally and physically. We had to shut our doors for the first time ever due to the national lockdown in March 2020, where we entered the world of online training. This is a concept pre-COVID-19 we would never have thought of doing. We weren’t sure it would work due to the practical elements, but we found that students remained engaged each evening from the safety of their own homes. To see people maintaining their health and well-being was a great boost.
We also needed to look to the future, lots of business planning meetings and continuing reviews of our centre has kept us on top of the safe running of the club. We have learnt a lot over the past six months and are so proud we have been able to continue to teach our students.