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Steve Astley's Martial Arts Story

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Steve Astley's Martial Arts Story

How I started in martial arts…

Before starting Mixed Martial arts, I had always been a very active individual. I had a history of competing at a fairly high level within athletics. At the age of 28, I found that I was no longer enjoying the athletic lifestyle. Even though I still enjoyed being active and competing, I found that as time went on 400m sprinting was getting further and further out of my reach. It was at this point , that I had to admit, it just wasn’t for me anymore. At this point, I fell into the trap that most people get caught in at some point in their life. I completely gave up on exercise all together and slipped into an unhealthy lifestyle.


I gained weight, in my opinion I became fat, lazy and completely uninterested in looking after my own health. During this time, I had to go through two deaths, my best friend of many years who had once looked out for me and pointed me in the right direction sadly lost their life due to depression and 6 months later my father suddenly passed away, which would in my opinion be hard to come back from.

So I was at a point in my life, where I felt I had to cut all connections to my past and start a new life. I quit my job as a very successful banking position. I was no longer happy spending 8 hours a day making myself and the people I served unhappy. I was not happy working within a structure of greed and corruption. So I left my job and decided to go into something that would make me happy. I became a care worker for the elderly. I wanted to help people be happy.

I worked as a care worker for approximately 3 years before I met an individual who needed my help, he had no confidence, he was unfit and he desperately wanted to make friends in his local area because he was suffering from isolation. We spent a good few weeks working together before we had the idea of trying Martial arts. It claimed it would boost fitness, confidence and allow you to make friends in a sports environment.


So we thought, why not lets give it a try! So we called, Gannon’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy. I must admit at first, we were a little disappointed as they didn’t pick up the phone, so after about 10 min of us thinking what else we could try…We were shocked when the phone started ringing… It was Master Gannon calling, he asked us what previous experience we had in martial arts. I was honest with Master Gannon, I told him that I had experience in multiple different Martial arts, but as anyone who has been in a physically active lifestyle for most of their life can tell you, you can’t take 3 years of training off and expect to be what you once were.

So there we were invited in for a beginner lesson. I was shocked that Gannon’s did not want any money paying for these lessons straightway, as this wasn’t something I was use to, he later explained to me, that if your academy is good enough people will want to stay and train with you and that it is important to allow a new student, to feel comfortable before they make a long term commitment to a teacher/master.


So I am at my first lesson with Master Paul Gannon, it was only a small group of about 6 student in this class. I honestly felt really nervous as I had been inactive for so long. He took us though a few basic kicks and punches and introduced me to grappling/BJJ. At the end of the class I was definitely sweating, smiling and learning. I had refreshed some old skills and learned a few new ones.


It was after about 2 weeks of learning mixed martial arts that I decided that this would definitely be for me, I had instantly taking a liking to this new part of my life , it gave me energy. I no longer felt, that I was training to improve my skills on running in a straight line. I was learning new skills every week and I was being pushed to new limits all the time. What made me happiest about learning these new skills and experiences was, I wouldn’t have to give up, when I got older. Martial arts is a skill for life.


At this point I was unaware of where my martial arts was taking me but looking back I can make a few personal points that I may write about in the future. Martial arts helped me overcome depression, break free of an abusive relationship and it allowed me to discover happiness with my future wife and kids. It has become my future and I hope to build a successful academy of my own with my future Black belt wife. At this point I am looking forward to discovering where else, my martial arts journey will take me…..


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What our clients say

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.

Amit Patel

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

Diane Wartnaby

Wow, what a great place this is, we started taking our son as he was getting bullied at school, best move we ever made, he's like a different child! Lewis and Jasmine and Master Gannon are all great teachers and we are always welcome.

Ian Dunkley

I recently enrolled into the beginners program at Gannon's. Although it's early days I have learnt a lot already. The teachers are top quality and there is always a great atmosphere at the academy. I would definitely recommend Gannon's to anyone interested in starting MMA.

Jasper Alyn Stephens

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!

Kelly Richardson

Absolutely amazing! And that is a massive understatement. Everyone is very friendly and the instructors are top quality teachers. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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!!!

Mark Wedge

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

Matthew Leeson

No matter what you're aim is, either self defence or fitness, then Gannon's Mixed Martial Arts Academy is the best place to achieve your goals. The team are amazing, supporting you no matter what your level and it is more like a family than a dojo. I cannot recommend it highly enough, to say that it is life changing is not an exaggeration.

Paul Reid

A fantastic mixed martial arts school with brilliant, knowledgeable instructors and a great group of people to train with.

Paul Sheldrake

A fun and interesting classes that will keep you coming back for more

Ruth Singleton

The word Awesome is used a lot here. And for good reason. It is. Awesome instructors. Awesome people. And you will have an awesome time. If you are interested in martial arts. Fitness and mental discipline. You won't go wrong here. Two years in and still loving it. Awesome.

Steve Hadley