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Paul’s Martial Arts Journey – Part 1

Friday, June 16, 2017

Paul’s Martial Arts Journey – Part 1

It was November 1982 I was 13 years old, I was rubbish at sport, not doing great academically, like many teenagers I was perpetually confused by life. It was a Tuesday night I was making myself some food in the kitchen when two of my brothers Mick and John told had a chat with me. They told me I was going to their Tae Kwon Do class the next day, I tried to protest, they were both clearly passionate about the training and they were not taking no for an answer. John was four years older than me and had already been training about three years and was a brown belt, Mick was seven years older than me and was already a black belt.

Tae Kwon Do is a form of Korean karate famous for its explosive techniques, especially jumping spinning kicks. The club they trained at was run by Alan Scott the classes where held at a local sports centre. Alan was not a full time instructor, back in the early 1980s there were very few people who taught martial arts for a living. However, Alan had a very professional approach to running the club, he was totally committed to his students and was the real deal.

The next day came it was a Wednesday. It was a solid 30 minute walk down to the sports centre in the St. Mathews estate. The estate was and still is one of the poorest areas in Leicester it has a tower block in the centre with very ugly housing blocks surrounding it, walking through the estate to the sports centre never felt safe!

I got changed into one of bothers old karate uniforms, went into the room were the class was held, there were around 15 people waiting for the class to start, I felt a bit anxious, and nervous.

The instructor lined us up, I stood at the back which is the tradition for new white belts, the higher belt grades line up nearer the front with the black belts being on the front line. I loved the fact that even the way the class lined up was organised and made sense.

I can’t remember exactly what I did in the class that first class, but one thing that is still very vivid was the sparring, I was really lucky to spar with another kid in my first class, it was crazy good fun. I fell in love with the martial arts and knew my life would be never the same again.

Over the next two weeks my brother John decided to train me up and get me ready for the next belt test which was only 2 weeks away. Usually someone would be training a few months before taking the first belt. Everyday after school John trained me on all the basic kicks, blocks and punches.

Back then the first belt was yellow belt, before the test I was so nervous. It had been just over two weeks since I had my first class. To test we had to demonstrate the moves on our own, with the instructor scoring your technique. My technique was, I am sure awful but I tried very hard and was naturally quite an intense person that combined with relentless training John had put me through everyday over the last two weeks meant I did know the material even if it was very rough.

I was awarded the yellow belt and my martial arts life was truly underway.


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Gannon's is the best martial arts academy in Leicester, very friendly instructor's. My son has been doing martial arts for nearly 5yrs and he loves it, can't get enough of the training. Well recommended to anyone, give it ago, you won't be disappointed.

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I have recently joined the academy and have been given a very warm welcome. I have no experience in martial arts and have started the beginner classes. I find the classes are exciting, fun and informative. They are a very supportive team and want to help you achieve your goals. Great atmosphere and lovely people to learn with! Whatever your ability or fitness, I highly recommend joining Gannon’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy

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My 7 year old son has just joined. Had a mini lesson on his own yeterday and had his first class tonight. He thoroughly enjoyed it and Lewis took the time to go through moves with him. He was not made to feel like a newby and hes looking forward to his next class. So far so good!

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Liam Crawford

We have been coming to Gannons MMA for 1 year now. Our 2 boys have moved from white to blue belt this year. That's absolutely phenomenal considering they only 8 and 6. Our boys are truly energetic and just want to have fun and its been a challenge to calm them down. But since we joined Gannons MMA Leicester they have matured so much and Hyper Jon has even improved his focus in class. We cannot thank Lewis and Jasmine enough to help with implementing discipline into our two wild cat's. Over and above this, we really enjoy the professional classes that our boys attend with a proper dojo setup of thick mats, mma cage and loads of punching pads including the Bruce Lee punching man. What really sets this mma school apart from other schools is that we have Lewis and Jasmin training the boys each lesson together, along with their professionalism they have a professional setup. So there is more consistency in their lessons. Lewis and Jasmin are also so friendly even while trying to stay focused during classes. Everyone in the class is so friendly. In fact we have met two other couple's thru the mma classes. What is also great is the mma tournaments and socials, but best of all the Summer Camp. If you want a serious investment in your children then I can definitely recommend Gannons MMA. 5 Star rating for sure!!!

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Today I went for my first kickboxing lesson and I have got to say I enjoyed it very much.. I was quite nervous going on my own but Paul Gannon welcomes you with open arms and make you feel comfortable. I will definitely be coming back... it is amazing experience and you also have fun why training... Thank you master paul Gannon

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