Martial arts at YMCA Walthamstow

14 November 2017

Steve Payne has been teaching martial arts at YMCA Walthamstow and in the surrounding communities for over 25 years and has been an inspiration in many young people’s lives. His ethos is to not only teach martial arts skills in Karate, Jiujitsu and Kickboxing but also to build up confidence, tackle stress and teach youngsters to be responsible citizens.

Steve has fought against and alongside some of the best fighters during the 1990s winning many national & international titles. “I’ve become a role model for the children who come along to the classes here and every child I teach, I teach them as if they’re my own. Which isn’t easy, some can be challenging! I specialise in developing their confidence as martial arts is more than just punches and kicks. Amongst many other things it’s about how to talk to people in the right way, how to solve problems, and how to be a team player – it’s a metaphor for many things in life,” says Steve.

Steve was approached recently to help one of his young students who was being bullied at school, with a one-to-one session to restore his confidence in facing the bullies. “I’ve taught him some moves, but insisted that he didn’t become the bully. The famous quote rings true here… With great power comes great responsibility.”

Last month Steve competed at an international Jiujitsu competition alongside some of his students. “One of my students went on to win a Bronze medal in her category; while I won 3 Golds and a Silver. The best part of winning, is bringing the medals back to show the kids – there’s nothing better than seeing them put a medal on and dream for just a second, that they could become a champion.  It’s my job to take that dream and try to make it a reality.”

The great thing about Steve’s Jiujitsu classes is that they are open to all, it’s a very friendly club.

“I have a mix of men and women in my classes. The skills that you learn through Jiujitsu are not dependent on your size, if you’re a small person you can learn to handle yourself against someone much bigger. It’s a welcoming club, but the students have to understand the art and the sport side of martial arts.”

Steve has recently spent time in Brazil with a martial arts club in the favelas in Rio and was shocked at the lack of equipment. “The mats were so thin and hardly any of the kids had gis (uniforms).  I would like to start promoting this and looking at how to support the club with charitable fundraising – there is a lot we can do to help and we should spread the word.”

For more information visit the Trodai Martial Arts Academy