Martial arts fighters kick off Aspirations Week in style

WIMBORNE Junior School kicked off Aspirations Week as it welcomed martial arts experts from across the city.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 3:23 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 7:27 pm

Fighters and coaches from Gym01, based in Fratton, spoke to children about how they developed careers in martial arts and the life lessons they have learnt in becoming professionals in their sport. It’s one of a series of worskhops with pupils across the city to raise awareness of the different job opportunities which exist and the importance of aspiring to achieve in your chosen career.

Year 6 pupil, Iesha Dereckett, aged 11, said: ‘I didn’t even know you could have a career in martial arts. It’s important to know what different jobs are out there so you are aware of your options. I want to be a vet when I leave school and I know I need good grades. I think knowing what you want to do helps you to work hard in school.’

Classmate, Lucas Skelhorn, aged 10, added: ‘I want to be an architect when I grow up. Knowing what I want to do helps me to prepare for it while I’m in school.’

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Back from left, Michael Lucy, Ollie Southern, Carina Jacobs, headteacher of Wimborne Junior School, Ismael Moreno De Borja and Emmeline Jones with front, from left, Lucas Skelhorn, 10, Iesha Derekett, 11, Ruby Loten, 10, and Hattie Nicolaides, 10 Picture: Sarah Standing (200120-5402)

For the Gym01 team, as well as revealing new potential careers, they wanted to pass on some of the key messages they have learnt in overcoming adversity.

Martial arts and fitness coach, Ollie Southern, 25, said: ‘In my professional fight career I had five defeats in a row. This really taught me how to deal with failure. Perseverance and how you bounce back is really important when pursuing any career.’

Colleague and kick boxing coach, Michael Lucy, 27, added: ‘When I was at school I really struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I found martial arts a massive outlet in dealing with this and now I have a career doing something I’m passionate about. Martial arts has taught me valuable life-skills and given me the confidence to stand up here today.’

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Ollie Southern, 25, from Gym 01 with Sam Prior, 11 Picture: Sarah Standing (200120-5386)

For Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education, Suzy Horton, Aspirations Week is about inspiring children to reach their potential.

‘Events such as today are about giving young people role models and raising awareness of the different careers out there. All the people who spoke today have followed a journey to get to where they are. All I would say to people is to follow their hearts and to keep pushing themselves. It’s about developing the success of the city. Currently, 26 per cent of people who come to study in Portsmouth stay in the city,’ said Suzy.

Wimborne head teacher, Carina Jacobs, added: ‘Knowing what career opportunities exist and what you need to do to get there helps children understand the importance of school.’

The idea for Aspirations Week was launched at Wimborne Primary School after a pilot last year.

Aspirations Week
Back from left, Cll. Suzy Horton with staff from Gym 01 Emmeline Jones, Michael Lucy, Ollie Southern, Ismael Moreno De Borja, headteacher of Wimborne Junior School Carina Jacobs and Chantelle Knight with some of the children. Picture: Sarah Standing (200120-5373)