Can sport play a part building community? Up Our Street talked to Paul who runs the Wing Chun Kung Fu group at Felix Road Adventure Playground. It was kick-started by funding from Sport England a year ago, and now has a dedicated group of regular members, but they are always open to new people. The classes run on a Monday evening. The session for young people aged 9 to 18 is from 6pm to 7pm, and the adult session is 7pm to 9pm. The group follows the Wing Chun style from the Wong Shun Leung lineage, which became wellWing Chun Kung Fu at Felix Road known as the style practised by Ip Man and Bruce Lee. Paul has many years’ experience in youth work, and moved to Bristol just over a year ago. He physically and emotionally. That’s what I’ve learnt started practising martial arts himself at 15. So what over the years. I’ve made deep friendships with does he feel are the benefits of martial arts? people around the world that I would never have “Not only are we teaching a high level of skill that’s had the opportunity to meet, through practising martial arts.” authentic to the Wing Chun style, but we’re also seeing a lot of soft outcomes for young people. If you would like to try a free session of Wing Chun Things like increasing young people’s focus, Kung Fu please call or text Paul on 07956 304 542. patience, cooperation, confidence, self-esteem… A Or visit www.wingchunyouth.com for more lot of people put that on posters, but because of information. our years of experience of working with young people, we know how to do that. An example of that might be getting a young person, who has never felt they have had any power, to teach an adult something that they have learnt.” Paul says they have had great feedback from schools and parents, who say they have seen a real difference in their young people. “We’ve had feedback from schools and various agencies saying ‘I don’t know what you’re doing but carry on doing it!’ because young people who have found it hard to focus in school are focussing more, cooperating more, and are more confident to speak in a group.”
We asked Paul what he felt was the highlight of the last year. “Seeing how popular the class has become and watching the adults and young people develop, and seeing the ownership they feel for the Wing Chun school. Seeing how generous they are at teaching each other and sharing the skills that they have learnt.” He firmly believes that there are deeper benefits that just learning the physical moves. “Our Kung Fu family is made up from all different walks of life. Through the interaction and the practise of the martial arts it genuinely breaks down social barriers. People have to start understanding each other on a quite profound level, both 14
Up Our Street
L-R Maria, Saed, Sarah, Brendan, and Carla Meet the new Network team. They will be out and about in Easton, Ashley and Lawrence Hill meeting and listening to people who want to connect with others in their communities, share their ideas, skills and passions and kick start some new activities. Contact Brendan on 0117 955 6971 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.upourstreet.org.uk
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