Retrieved from KentOnline - Written by Bess Browning on November 10, 201
A black belt instructor will travel to Zimbabwe to teach young women from challenging backgrounds the benefits of martial arts.
Former British karate champion Mark Caddy, the chief instructor at the University of Kent for more than 20 years, will work with the Fair Fight project which helps to empower girls in third world countries through the art of karate, aikido and other forms of self-defence.
Mark, 43, and the team will travel in January to a school in the southern African country, where hundreds of youngsters await his lessons.
He said: “Martial arts may seem like a strange thing to be teaching but it can be practised anywhere, alone or in groups, and with very minimal equipment.
“The physical skills though are only a small part as in turn we promote equal opportunities, equal respect, self-confidence, self-belief and working together as a team.
“Martial arts offer a powerful form of physical and mental development and we show them something new and hope they will realise they can do things they never thought possible.
“We give them new sportswear which may end up being the clothes they wear every day – it is not often they receive new clothes. It is incredibly poor and there is very little economy in the rural areas out there.
“We really want to help them realise their potential.”
Mark, of Horselees Road in Boughton, is currently fundraising to provide equipment for the project.
He hopes to raise at least £1,000 before he leaves for his three-week trip to contribute towards the underprivileged communities.
Those funds will all go directly to the project as his company, Jigsaw Business Consultants, has already funded his own travel and accommodation.
Mark, a management consultant, is also looking for donations of training gear such as pads, special mitts, gum shields and first aid items.
The Fair Fight Foundation, founded last year and based in the Netherlands, would like to take their mission across the globe, travelling to India next year and different parts of Africa, to schools where their services would be valued the most.
In January 2015, they began their work in Zimbabwe establishing regular classes with one school and ran events at a local orphanage and another school.
The students also learned when it is appropriate to use the techniques they have been taught, shared stories and heard first-hand how martial arts has changed people’s lives for the better.