A new dojo in Abu Dhabi aims to help youngsters get fit and boost their confidence using the marital arts.
Children as young as four can attend classes at the new site, where martial art techniques are taught as a way to support character development.
First launched in the UAE in 2019, the Warrior Academy in Dubai trains more than 1,000 children a week using a programme that focuses on confidence, conduct and concentration.
Each session is delivered by world-class professionals, including national, European and world champions in martial arts, as well as personal trainers and best-selling authors.
“We are thrilled to bring the Warrior Academy to Abu Dhabi. We’re incredibly proud of the impact the Warrior Academy is having on children’s lives," said Sebastian Bates, founder of the Warrior Academy. "This is much more than a martial arts academy. Through our small class approach and the methods taught, we’re able to rapidly increase a child’s confidence, conduct and concentration."
Bates, an extreme sports athlete, professional fighter, author and philanthropist, came up with the Warrior Academy in the UK in 2011. Since then, more than 30,000 children have trained with the programme in countries across three continents, and the programme has produced 50 national champions.
About 80 per cent of children who attend sessions for at least one year report an increase in confidence, the academy has said.
Children who attend classes at the Warrior Academy learn martial arts including freestyle taekwondo, karate, Muay Thai and boxing. As well as teaching the physical side of the sport, lessons are also designed to build confidence, discipline and focus. The skills taught also help to improve physical co-ordination and strength.
The Warrior Academy also aims to help children overcome their fears and build their self-esteem, something that is important to Bates, who is passionate about ending bullying in young people.
"Bullying is not a single event, but a transition," he said. "It’s a transition that carries with it the potential for huge growth with the right mentoring. It is through this approach, that I hope the Warrior Academy will continue to help children, and we could not be more excited to be welcoming students to our dojo in Abu Dhabi."
The Warrior Academy plans to continue to expand in the region, with dojos to be established in nine GCC cities over the next three years.