A Surrey businessman is backing World Kickboxing Champion Paul Bernard’s unique black belt scholarship scheme to help high-spirited youngsters steer clear of trouble by teaching them discipline, respect and self-worth through martial arts.
Self-made millionaire Andrew Reynolds is donating over £3,000 to the programme run jointly by Precision Martial Arts and Hart and Rushmoor Youth Inclusion and Support Panel (YISP). The money will fund the first year of the three-to-five year black belt course for three Hampshire boys.
Mr Reynolds has been impressed by the progress made by the three lads – Ross Clynes, aged 14, Aiden Nisbet, 13, and 12-year-old Paul Linsell – who started the course in autumn. Parents and case workers have seen positive changes in the youngsters since they began the course. All three have learned to control their anger at home and at school.
Mr Reynolds said, ‘When I first learnt of the scholarship scheme from the local news I immediately wanted to become involved. This project offers a great foundation of stability for these young people and is a project I am very proud to be supporting.’
The Camberley-based entrepreneur will make a guest appearance at the Precision Martial Arts graduation ceremony on Sunday January 10 where he will present Master Bernard with the cheque for £3,141.
“We are very grateful to Mr Reynolds for his vision and support for this project. His generous donation will help these three boys through the first year of their black belt scholarship,” said Master Bernard.
“The scheme is proof that martial arts can help children with challenging behaviours turn their lives around. The three YISP boys I am coaching have come along in leaps and bounds. They arrived with attitude, but in six weeks were attentive and keen to learn.
“All three have gained confidence, control and discipline. They have learned to walk away from trouble. The boys are determined to finish the black belt scholarship course at Precision, and thanks to Mr Reynolds, they are well on the way to achieving that.”
YISP, part of the Wessex Youth Offending Team, works with children who play truant, have problems at home and at school or have come to the notice of the police. Often, the eight to 13-year-olds are referred to YISP by police, children’s services, teachers, community safety teams and even parents who are keen to stop them turning to crime.
Master Bernard, who launched Precision Martial Arts eight years ago, is convinced martial arts can help these children turn their lives around.
Ross, Aiden and Paul were chosen from a group of youngsters from YISP after they demonstrated the right attitude necessary and maintained the rules set by Master Bernard in order to qualify for a scholarship to gain a black belt in martial arts. The rules included no anti-social behaviour, truancy, bullying, fighting or stealing and maintaining respect at home, school and the martial arts academy.