A black belt kickboxing couple have started a new venture after a much-loved martial arts club in Wimbledon closed last week.

Wendy Wilshere, the owner of the British Martial Arts and Kickboxing Academies (BMAKA) is going to concentrate on martial arts training full time in China before travelling around the world.

Instructor Didi Ferguson will run a new club at the Wimbledon Park Pavilion with partner and award-winning kickboxer Rodney James, a Grand Champion after his first year competing in kickboxing.

Wimbledon Kickboxing and Boxing Club will open on Monday, September 8, taking over from BMAKA, which closed its doors for the last time on Thursday.

The couple have been forced to increase the cost of each class from £6.50 to £7.50 to cover the rising cost of hiring the pavilion based in Wimbledon Park, but aim to keep the classes affordable for members.

Miss Ferguson, of Dundonald Road, said: "The hours we are hiring the pavilion for are less than the previous club but the rent is much more. It seems they had a discounted rate.

"This will affect the club in us having to increase the class fees in order to cover the rent."

This Is Local London:

In action: Rodney James, left, Jai Ferguson, centre, and Didi Ferguson, right. 

They are hoping up to 200 members of the former club, which was running for five years, will transfer to their new one, after owner Miss Wilshere closed the business to concentrate on martial arts training full time.

Miss Ferguson, who is an ABA Boxing Awards tutor, said: "Running the new club ourselves will enable us to broaden the boundaries, introducing various styles of stand-up combat and high-intensity interval training.

"It will allow those who wish to pursue sparring points and those who wish to train for fitness or progress through the belt system to do so.

"We will no longer be teaching children's karate classes, but we will be introducing self defence and focusing on kickboxing to promote self esteem, self confidence, self discipline and respect."

Children will also be able to progress through the belt system.

The couple are donating a percentage of profits from the first week of classes to Cancer Research, after Mr James had a traumatising cancer scare during the setting up of the new club this summer.

Miss Wilshere, who is a fourth Dan black belt in kickboxing and IKSA US Open world champion, will fly to China in September before heading to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and America.

She said: "It has come as a shock to most people.

"For me it’s a good thing as well as a sad thing at the same time."

To find out more about the new club, email wimbledonkickboxing.boxingclub@gmail.com, call 07477 499 834 or find them on Facebook.