Jiu-jitsu instructor seeks help to start 'life-changing' classes for youngsters (From This Is Local London)
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Jiu-jitsu instructor seeks help to start 'life-changing' classes for youngsters in Harrow
A martial arts instructor believes learning jiu-jitsu could help steer Harrow teenagers away from trouble and is seeking sponsors to start a free club.
David Lee, who runs Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes in his Team Crossface Centre gym in Rosslyn Crescent, wants to offer free classes to underprivileged children in the borough after seeing instructors transform lives in Rio de Janeiro by working with poor families living in favelas.
And the 34-year-old says the martial arts discipline, which focusses on grappling and ground wrestling, helped put his life back on track after taking drugs as a teenager.
The father-of-two said: “My siblings were into martial arts around the time I was born, but around my teens I got into guitars and music, and joined a band, and subsequently I got involved in the drugs and stuff that goes with it.
“It was nothing too serious but there was a point where I was taking drugs every day.
“When I turned 19 I discovered martial arts again and I went to California to train and would come back to compete, so it did save me – it helped me go from a stoned adolescent to a world-travelled martial artist.”
Mr Lee wants to start a Saturday morning class for disadvantaged youngsters, but although he can put on sessions at his gym, he needs sponsorship to help pay for uniforms and possibly trips away.
He added: “I’m sick of seeing kids playing in the streets getting bad press.
“Jiu-jitsu gets the kids away from what they normally do – these days they are stuck in front of the TV and don’t use their body as much as they’re supposed to, and for kids who are not academic it is something they can excel at. It can be life-changing.
“We had an open day last year where we had autistic kid who couldn’t write well, but after the session he wrote out his name for the first time – his mother was amazed.”
The discipline was founded in the early 20th Century when Japanese judo expert Mitsuyo Maeda visited Brazil and staged shows in the country.
It is recognised as separate from judo because it is a sport as well as a martial art, and promotes fitness and character-building for young people.
For more information or to get involved in Mr Lee’s idea, call him on 07886 297 785 or click here .