Ronnie Hughes, founder of The Academy, located in Cannon Place, North Sound Road, has always been an advocate for teaching children and adults the importance and skills of self-defence, a subject on which he is well-versed.
A former member of the British Military, he trained personnel ranging from captains and commanders through to new recruits and Royal Marines and was a keen advocate of martial arts from an early age, qualifying as a certified Krav Maga instructor in 2010.
Every summer, Hughes hosts a mixed martial arts camp for kids, and this year it was held from 5-30 July. In keeping with his continued efforts to ensure that everyone has a chance to learn, regardless of their financial circumstances, Hughes reached out to some private individuals for support, which enabled him to welcome children assisted by the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the SNAP (Stop Now And Plan) programme at the Family Resource Centre, and nonprofit organisation ARK (Acts of Random Kindness).
Trainers Bella Arscott, Mark Elliott and Carl Hawkes also ran classes, keeping the children well occupied over the course of the camp.
“Over 25 children in total attended in the weeks we held the camp,” Hughes said. “They learned the fundamentals of boxing, jiu-jitsu, judo, wrestling and Krav Maga.”
He went on to thank those who had stepped up to help him make the classes as inclusive as possible.
“The generosity and kindness of the likes of Marcus Cumber, Frank Schilling, Michael Hammer and Mr. Takahashi, along with the dedication of the staff at The Academy, is what made this a wonderful experience for the kids,” Hughes said. “The past month has been a blast teaching the kids mixed martial arts. I honestly feel that school gives an education, but martial arts instills confidence and promotes strength, wellbeing and health. These are hugely important things that we try to focus on when teaching them and not just showing them how to defend themselves or stand up to bullies.
He also lauded the good work of the Crisis Centre (of which he is an ambassador, raising thousands of dollars for it over the years), and the other nonprofits who put forward children to participate.
“It cannot be overstated, the importance of organisations like these who help some of the most vulnerable in our society,” Hughes said. “We’re just doing our part to lend a helping hand and hopefully give these kids a leg up in the world. Thanks to everyone who chipped in, we were able to give them a great summer experience.”
About The Academy
The Academy is a strength, conditioning and self-defence facility. Its mission is to develop individuals in mind, body and life by teaching the principles of health, fitness and martial arts to everybody, regardless of age, gender or capability. The training centre often offers self-defence classes for women, simply for the cost of a donation to the Crisis Centre.