Primal Combat Academy (PCA) is a mixed martial arts group based in Tendring and they provide specialist support to young people, through their summer sports-based intervention programme. The Active Essex Foundation partnered up with PCA to help provide additional support and funding, to enable the group to make a real difference to the lives of young people in the community.
The sessions include group games to help support team building, communication, understanding rules and having to stick to them, and learning to work with other people to achieve their goal. The sessions enable young people to discover the wide range of martial arts and it has been highlighted as a great form of anger release, which can improve mental health. The young people shared they felt great after just one session.
It has also taught young people that there is a lot of discipline in martial arts, and it is not to be used out of anger and to hurt someone. It has given them life skills, as well as self-defence awareness, all to help advise participants on how they can calm a situation and mechanisms to remove themselves from the situation. PCA highlighted to the group that there are lots of opportunities to get involved with different activities, to make friends and engage with others.
After the first week, the Primal Combat Instructors noticed the young people interacting more with each other and the adults. The young people opened up about home life, what they get up to in their spare time, their likes and dislikes and even their favourite foods. Half of the young people had never done any form of martial arts before, so it was a new experience for them and a couple of them really took to the martial arts and wanted to learn more. One young person finished the program and came back to attend normal evening classes, he attended kickboxing, Jiu jitsu and MMA. He was in the wrong crowd at school and his carer was hoping the gym would help.
PCA aims to get more young people off the streets, reduce anti-social behaviour and instead use physical activity to help them get on the right track. One challenging experience the group faced, was that a young person had been bullying others in the group. PCA attempted an intervention to help the young person understand the effects of his actions and some techniques to deal with his anger.
With AEF funding and support, PCA have since been able to increase staff numbers and provide training to staff prior to them starting work. As a result, staff want to learn more about the ways to help young people in their community.
A young person who attended the club said; “Will you be doing this again in the half term? We want to come back again!”
If you want to find out about the club visit their webpage and social media: