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Building Confidence Through Martial Arts

Mind Body Spirit Martial Arts move to their new home on Barker Lane...

Mind Body Spirit Martial Arts provide fun, exciting and rewarding traditional Martial Arts for children and adults in Chesterfield and have recently moved to a larger location on Barker Lane in Raincliffe House. They’ve now opened their doors to offer COVID secure classes, not only in the dōjō, but online too!

Sensei Mike Holden has been a friend of ours for almost ten tears now. Our son and his friends joined Mind Body Spirit at the age of four and we’ve watched them progress to having achieved cadet black belt before deciding to quit Jujitsu to allow time for other activities. So, we have seen first-hand how Sensei Mike promotes a positive learning culture, and develops confident, resilient and courteous students in an excellent environment.

'They provide excellent tuition aimed at all abilities where all kids are treated as individuals. Mike and Kathy provide a safe, positive environment to their students.’ -Katie, Toby's Mum.

“I started martial arts when I stopped playing football due to too many injuries,” laughs Sensei Mike. “I was looking for a new activity and gave it a go. I wasn’t hooked at first but stuck with it. It was when I bought my uniform from Sugg Sport in Sheffield that I thought ‘this is it’. Jujitsu has since become a part of my life, given me friends across the world and enabled me to help some fantastic young and older people develop their skills, physical activity levels and self-confidence.”

Mind Body Spirit offer traditional martial arts through age specific classes from 4 years old, through the Warriors (age 4 to 7) foundation programme, the Young Masters (age 7 to 12) and adults’ classes, plus a 40 plus class for the more mature student.

“The hardest part is to get people through the door,” explains Sensei Mike. “Once they get through the initial nerves, we help build confidence, learning self-defence, and improve people’s social skills, focus and concentration.”

“People come along for different reasons, many simply want to learn the art of self-defence, some lack confidence, focus and concentration, some parents have issues with bullying and want children to be involved in a physical activity.

“The benefits are many, self-discipline and structure. It’s the softer things, it’s not just about learning a martial art. Respect is so important throughout everything we teach, and it applies to all aspects; our structure, grading and award system, safe training environment, the standards we apply and it’s this detail that leads to a more positive outlook and its fun for all students,” says Sensei Mike.

Sensei Mike started training in 1987 and now holds the rank of Sichidan (7th Dan), due to his continued, loyal and dedicated service to the British Ju-Jitsu Association GB (BJJAGB). Sensei Mike’s rank is not all about technical ability but is also awarded for the work and support he has given as head of antidoping for governing body and his teachings through the UK and Europe.

He started full time coaching in 2001, training in sports halls, leisure centres, village halls and community centres, but needed to make decision about his long-term future. Establishing the area's first full-time martial arts academy, he set up in Peel House, Brimington Road. A member of the British Jujitsu Association, he qualified as a level 4 coach in 2006, which is renewed every three years to ensure continued professional development.

In 2013 they moved premises to the Chesterfield FC Community Hub, (Sensei Mike is an avid Chesterfield FC fan) where they continued to develop the programmes and academy before moving to Barker Lane in March this year.

“The new facility is much larger than our old space, we have conference facilities and have become one of four UK centres of excellence for the BJJAGB where we will be running coaching days for the East Midlands dōjōs.

“My team of coaches supporting me focus on what students can do rather than what they can’t and are amazingly enthusiastic about what they are doing.

“This is all great but our timing with COVID 19 could not have been worse; our opening date at Barker Lane was 23 March.

“Surprisingly it’s been quite beneficial to us, as we have developed an online portal for members where we offer instructional videos, online bespoke classes, and since we reopened in July, we’ve live-streamed classes so people can follow them in their own home.

“It’s been a really positive addition to the dōjō, but the services wouldn’t have been added without the push from lockdown,” explains Sensei Mike. “I’ve learned technologies I’ve been avoiding for years and they’ve enabled us to expand and develop our brand.”

At the dōjō they are running COVID-secure classes - non-contact, socially distanced, with full hygiene protocols in place. People are still returning, and class numbers are growing each week.

“We use throw down spots on mats to help visualise where students should be etc and we’ve had some great fun with children online creating their own grappling dummy, or if they have a sibling that attends, they can do the exercises together as a family,” adds Sensei Mike.

If you’re looking for a way to improve yourself, physically and mentally, Mind Body Spirit might be just the thing you’re looking for, and if your children want to learn a martial art or develop, it’s a great place to start.

'Being involved with Mind Body Spirit is like being part of a family. It provides excellent grounding in discipline and respect. Mike’s a total legend who the kids admire and want to please.’ - Kate, Connors Mum.

After spending seven years attending Mind Body Spirit with a group of close friends, I asked my son what he took away most from his time learning Jujitsu. ‘A six pack’ was his response, but as his parent I know he got so much more – we have witnessed Sensei Mike engage, encourage and develop the kids he teaches, and the way he quietly and sensitively deals with challenging behaviours and builds self-confidence. I suspect we also have Sensei Mike to thanks for his core strength and confidence that have helped him in his new activities and the way he has accepted exercise as an everyday necessity.

Thanks Sensei Mike.

Words: Paul Chapman

Images: Mind Body Spirit


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