ALMOST 100 members, both male and female, ranging from five to 40-year-olds, are attending a new boxing academy based at St Mary's Church Hall, South Elmsall, writes Peter Jordan. The SESKU Muay Thai and Traditional Boxing Sports Academy, backed by local councillors and Wakefield District Council, held its opening annual meeting on Wednesday.
The vicar of South Elmsall, Fr Paul Witts, who is also on the committee, is firmly behind the project.
He said: "The academy is a positive force in the community.
"It brings people together, and fosters respect and self-discipline, not to mention meeting of new friends and the overall health benefits.
"We discovered recently that in 1897, when the Church Hall was built, part of it was used as a gym and for boxing.
"So I suppose it's a bit of 'back to the future' for us!"
Training instructor Adam Redfern said: "This is just what the community needs – a recognised academy with a stable organisation. This is what we are working towards.
"The academy is a non-profit making organisation, and a small fee of 2 per session is received for rent of the hall and maintaining equipment."
Fellow training instructor Lee Davis added: "The training can improve flexibility, balance and co-ordination. It also develops trainees mentally for the technical skills needed.
"It gives me great satisfaction knowing that people in this community, especially the younger generation, are benefiting from this experience."
The academy has had support from local firm, RH Fullwood and Co, and would be delighted to hear from any other businesses in the area who want to provide sponsorship or financial help.
Paula Kitchin, 22, one of the members, said: "Training at the academy has helped my confidence and given me a chance to feel part of something really very special.
"The training staff are very helpful and willing to give extra time in developing self-defence skills.
"There is also a family atmosphere about the academy as the team get on well together."
For further information about the SESKU Academy, contact 0778 3986 602.