Helping young people build confidence

  • 28
  • Nov


For Islington resident Jonathan Buffong martial arts is more than just a hobby, it is a calling. He is the founder of Mixed Martial Arts for Reform and Progression (MMARAP) a local sports group that trains young people through karate, boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to make positive life choices.

“I work with young people because I think it is vital that they can pursue opportunities in their lives,” says Jonathan. “MMARAP really aims to act as a platform for young people to excel in both their personal and social lives. The benefits of mixed martial arts can spread into young people’s education and employment opportunities too.”

Jonathan currently runs weekly sessions for young people aged 16-25 in Islington. These are free of charge and held every Thursday at Ringcross Community Centre. Attendees learn skills from various martial arts, but it’s more than just the physical skills that Jonathan hopes the young people will gain.

“I want to be clear, I’m not training young people to become combatants,” he said. “I’m teaching certain elements of martial arts to promote a positive and focused approach to life.

He says: “I’ve been doing MMA for over 10 years, and started to notice that there weren’t many people with physical or learning disabilities involved in the sport,” he says. “Having spoken to people at events I found that there was an interest from disabled people to get involved.”

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