We decided to send our daughter to Activ8 self defence as she was being physically and mentally bullied at school. Before she started, it took her 6 months to tell someone she was being bullied. She was only 6 years old.

Self-defence over the last few years has not only given her confidence, it has also helped to realise that other children cannot hurt her without consequences.  If she has a problem now, she speaks out about it and no longer bottle things up.  She also knows she does not have to put up with bullies.

The self defence classes are fun and the children and parents are warmly welcomed. The students are always polite and well behaved and enjoy what the instructors teach them.

Parent from Torrisholme evening class

My son has grown in confidence, especially with having Cerebral Palsy; it has given him somewhere safe to go after school.  He loves the fact that he is not judged and is treated the same as any other child on the class, and that he does the same moves as the other children, which are just adapted to suit his limited mobility.

Parent from Ryeland’s School class

My son always struggled with sport, as he had little co-ordination and balance.  Since starred in the Activ8 class he has improved greatly, but more importantly he enjoys sports so much more now.  He has excelled and with it his confidence has grown, it is the highlight of his week going to self-defence.

The staff at Activ8 are fantastic, it is all about encouragement, and they go out of their way to ensure that all children thrive, regardless of their ability.

He is proud of his achievement, and I am sure that this is in no small part to the teaching.  It is fantastic that there is such a variety of teachers – the young one especially gives the children something to aspire to.

Parent from Dallas Road / Carnforth evening class

Our child has attended Activ8 classes for over three years now, and as parents we have been empowered by your focus on respect, and appreciate all your support during a difficult period between Sam and ourselves.

Respect costs nothing, and yet means so much to us all; thank you for leading by example.

Thank you for all your hard work and for helping guide Sam into a resourceful, caring, kind young person.

Parents from Torrisholme evening class

My son, (now 11) started jujitsu at  six years old with Activ8. His self confidence greatly improved well within a year of starting.  When he first went in to year one at school he did not know all his sounds of the alphabet and was struggling to read.  By the February break, within months of starting Activ8 he had caught up with his classmates and his new found self-esteem was very obvious to at least two teachers and he became a star pupil in the group he went to for extra reading and spelling.  The reason he was keen to fetch his reading up to scratch was his eagerness to learn all the Japanese words for his grading and the parts of the body.  He knows far more about the human body than even myself!

Also the practise of how to fall so not to hurt himself has because very handy.  The use of punch bags for practising his kicks is also giving his legs great strength.

This is also a sport he finds enjoyable – this is not just a sport for children to learn, or adults; but an education and in life skills and another countrys language. The respect the children give to the Sensei is priceless.

Parent from St. Peter’s School class

At school, we have been lucky enough to be able to accommodate several courses for some of our more challenging older boys. The messages delivered by Gary and his team are hard hitting and effective. They make the students face up to life changing decisions and encourage them to make life saving choices.  For these difficult students it is the highlight of the week and the content of the sessions form the basis of discussions for  days afterwards.

It is not just a matter of instructing the boys in self defence, but more a course in valuable life choice decisions. Already, these students are calmer and less prone to outbursts of temper. Their relationships with themselves, peers and their teachers have improved dramatically and all wanted the course to continue. They have clear goals and are beginning to develop the ability to work efficiently in a group, taking account of the needs of others.

For the schools looking to develop SEAL, this is an ideal forum to address self awareness, motivation, managing feelings, empathy and social skills. All five key areas of SEAL are covered in immensely enjoyable sessions.

My two children have also attended Activ8 Self Defence classes, one of which is due to take his black belt and the other who has gained confidence and immense enjoyment through assisting the younger children on the mat as a junior helper. We have the utmost respect and admiration for the instructor. Both children thoroughly enjoy the sessions and benefit greatly from the stimulating guidance offered. They have developed their physical skills and have made vast improvement in self confidence. The discipline required has aided their learning and extended their capacity to concentrate. The instructors are doing an outstanding job with these children.

 On top of this they are learning valuable lessons about how to deal with challenging life situations. After only one year we felt confident that they would be able to contend with difficult circumstances that would offer a threat to their safety. This is a particularly relevant point as both children are now at secondary school. As teachers, my wife and I fully appreciate the teaching skills displayed by the staff and are constantly impressed by their ability to stimulate and motivate. Discipline is maintained and fostered in a caring and friendly atmosphere. Relationships with the group are strong and learning occurs rapidly. The pace of the sessions is appropriate and learning activities differentiated to facilitate maximum progress from the group as a whole.

Andrew Armistead, Lead Teacher for Behaviour at Morecambe Community High School

Activ8 Self Defence have run a class at Dallas Road for almost 8 years now, starting at first with a six week course in 2007 which we then extended to a permanent after school club due to its success. Everything is self maintained – paperwork, money, medical records, dealing with parents and staffing. We are very pleased with the way the instructors run the club, and senior staff members are available if the need arises (but have never been called upon to date).

The club as a whole is well organised and parental feedback is very positive. If there is any reason we need to speak to the Activ8 staff, they are very approachable, accommodating, and again, professional.

The club they run is VERY popular with children from all age groups within school. The children who attend the club look forward to it and thoroughly enjoy it, even though it is on a Friday afternoon and some of them are already worn out!!!

One other aspect of the club, is that Activ8 also run weekend classes and holiday clubs, which are again, very popular with the children and parents who attend their after school club at Dallas Road school.

Thank you, keep up all your hard work!

Nikki Moss, PE Subject Leader, Dallas Road CP School

Activ8 has run self defence classes at Dallas Road for almost 7 years as an after school club for the children from Reception to year 6. The club is popular with children and caters well for individual needs and there are opportunities for children to progress through skill levels. The pupils involved are proud of their achievements and are confident in displaying their new skills for others. It is a good opening for children to the martial arts and self defence classes.

It is a well organised club and the administration of the club is done independently from the school creating no extra burden for the school office other than collecting initial interests.

All appropriate insurances are in place for a club of this nature and all staff have appropriate clearances to work with children.

R. Starkey (Head Teacher), Dallas Road CP School

Before Gary and the wonderful Activ8 team approached Moorside Primary School, we held numerous after school activities for children of all ages but had nothing along the lines of self-defence. They came in and spoke to myself, and explained the class structure, whilst also providing relevant teaching qualifications and insurance, so we set up a ‘taster’ assembly on the spot. The children loved the light hearted demonstrations and unique techniques used, and quickly signed up for a series of sessions. The club is well established now, having run for over five years, and extremely popular with our children; many of whom have moved up through the grading’s and often bring in their belts, certificates and merits which they have achieved.

Throughout their time at Moorside, the Activ8 leaders have got to know the children very well and their care is of the upmost. I would definitely advise any school who hasn’t already taken upon this wonderful opportunity, to sign up straight away. They really have made a huge impact within school and long may it continue.

Mark Cheale, PE Co-ordinator, Moorside Primary School

Activ8 has been a regular club at Christ Church Primary School for over five years now. Pupils look forward to their after school sessions where they learn respect for the coaches, each other and the sport. They learn to become much more confident in themselves and are encouraged by the Activ8 staff to have commitment to the club. We thoroughly endorse the ethos of Activ8 and all they teach our young people.

Stephanie Edwards (Sports co-ordinator), Christ Church CE Primary School Lancaster