A local mixed martial arts club is on the rise with its members taking a slew of medals at a recent national competition.
The Matt Fiddes Martial Arts School has three classes running in Fife under the watchful eye of owner and instructor Sandy Hunter, and returned from the recent MF Scottish Championships with a total haul of 19 medals.
Sandy opened his first school in Kingskettle in 2006, before expanding into Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and says the club is slowly growing in numbers and stature.
“I’ve been teaching this type of martial arts for about 13 years and we now have a lot of Scottish champions.
“We have English champions as well because we went down and competed in the Northern Championships in Penrith and won 17 medals there.
“We only used to take three or four kids to championships in the past because a lot of them were new to taking part in tournaments and weren’t quite confident enough for that style of fighting.
“So we left it for a while whilst I kept at them to do a bit more and try out different things, and now we have quite a lot of kids who want to go.
“I’ve got 10 who want to go and compete in the British Championships down in Bath in November.”
Sandy says winning so many medals means that the club’s reputation is also growing.
“The club is getting more and more established and our kids are getting their names known.
“We go to championships and people will know that it’s one of Mr Hunter’s kids. We’re getting known because we’re winning quite a lot.
“The club is slowly getting bigger. We’ve got about 15 or 16 students just now, but I’d like to have a few more.
“For me, it’s all about the kids. In all the time I’ve been teaching I’ve had some kids stay for around 10 years and they’re black belts now.
“They’ve started when they six or seven and they’re 16/17 now.
“They’ve stuck with it so I’ve got first dan and second dan black belts. They’ve really come on and they do well at the competitions.
“We had gradings recently with two of the boys moving up to red belt, which is just two away from black. They’re just 12 years old.
“But also, and this is one thing I must stress, it’s not just for kids. Anyone of any age can come along. At the grading we had a woman who comes along get her black belt at the age of 51.
“It’s available from six to 60 and I have adults mixing with the kids at classes.”
Sandy says his brand of mixed martial arts means there’s something to suit everybody.
“I teach taekwondo, karate, kung fu and a little bit of muay thai as well. It’s all kind of mixed together.
“It’s very child friendly for the kids. I don’t allow the young kids to fight, you must be a certain age and grade before I’ll allow that.
“I don’t push anyone to do anything they don’t want to. If they don’t want to spar they don’t have to.
“It’s about teaching people to be more confident and getting them fitter. It’s helping the kids to become more street wise and getting them out of then house and not just sitting on a computer all day.
“I just try to help them stay on the straight and narrow.
Sandy says the school is now planning to hold an open day in September at its Kirkcaldy branch at the Philp Hall on Links Street.
He said: “It’s just to allow anyone to come along and see what we have going on.”