Black belt and self-defence coach teams up with charity to keep adults with disabilities safe

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a class at NANSA, helping people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A black-belt martial arts instructor has been teaching people with disabilities to block and box to keep themselves safe on the streets.

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a class at NANSA, helping people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Gary Brown has teamed up with the Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association (NANSA), based at Bowthorpe Road in Norwich, for ongoing lessons to develop their self-defence skills.

And after five months of training, the group - who have learning, physical and sensory disabilities - were yesterday presented with certificates for passing the first level, which included basic blocks and counter-strikes.

Mr Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, said: 'They've absolutely loved it - when I first came in a few of the guys were a bit nervous, it was a new thing, they didn't know how to approach it.

'But we've built it up from scratch, it's been great for their confidence, their self esteem and their motivation is through the roof.

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a

Gary Brown, who runs Street Smart Self Defence, teaches martial arts and tips on keeping safe too a class at NANSA, helping people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

'It does just prove it doesn't matter whether you are a fully-able-bodied person or you have a disability, you can learn self-defence and you can look after yourself on the streets. I want these guys to feel safe.'

Glenn Butcher, who benefits from the help of the charity, said he had been insulted by teenagers on buses but felt better being able to keep himself safe.

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They will now knuckle down and work through grabs, locks and escapes in level two.

Sarah Harrison, charity project worker and parent to one of the group, said: 'It's been fantastic, they've really enjoyed it. They all feel more empowered, that they can go out into the world and they can and protect themselves which is so important.

'Gary has really inspired them - he has been very clear that it is about self defence and it is about looking after themselves.'

For information on Street Smart Self Defence, which is based in Great Ellingham, visit www.streetsmartselfdefence.com and for information on NANSA, visit www.nansa.org.uk

Do you have a story for us? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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