Script for Radio Feature
SFX of Gyms.
Shawn Burton is in his early twenties, and runs the Lincoln Fight Factory. It’s a growing gym situated near Great Northern Terrace, close to Lincoln city centre. His fighting style is kickboxing, and he coaches dozens of children, men and women every week. He’s a professional and experienced fighter boasting several top titles.
Shawn is now at a crossroads. As he is now an accomplished kick-boxing champion, he’s considering training as a Mixed Martial Artist. But finding the time is proving difficult. This may not mean much to you or me, but it’s a growing sport which originated in Brazil and has an increasing number of gyms across Britain offering classes and training. Shawn says he’s tempted by the idea…
The UFC? MMA? What do all these mean? Well, the UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, and is the world’s leading Mixed Martial Arts organisation. Mixed martial artists fight in different weight divisions, ranging from ‘flyweight’ to ‘heavyweight’. Fights usually take place in a fenced octagonal arena where the contestants use a combination of striking; wrestling and submissions to win. MMA was designed to distinguish what the most effective martial arts moves are in an unarmed combat situation. But for some, the idea of mixed martial arts may seem fierce….
Clip… Matt Frost – Explaining MMA.
That’s Matt Frost, after a difficult start in life and getting into trouble in his teens and twenties, he now lives in Lincoln, and has been involved in MMA since he was thirty. He believes that it’s actually a very disciplined sport.
Clip… Matt Frost – Explaining MMA further.
Clip… Shawn on consequences of fighting outside of training.
Mixed Martial Arts can be seen as thuggish, and the idea of two people fighting brutal. However Matt Frost would disagree. He says training has transformed who he is. And as I interviewed him, I noticed the words “Honesty”, “Discipline” and “Respect” are printed in large letters on the cushioned posts holding up a fight cage in the back of the gym.
Clip… Background of Matt Frost.
According to Shawn Burton, he’s seeing growing numbers of children taking up contact sports like kick boxing. This is because they want to learn self-defence and their parents are encouraging them to take part. It kept Shawn out of trouble, and was one of the many reasons why he was inspired to teach youngsters.
19 year old Christopher Skelley has a hearing impairment which affects his balance and coordination. The teenager has been involved in Judo classes since he was 5 which have helped his confidence. Many professional mixed martial artists have backgrounds in Judo, due to its focus on clinching and grappling. Many also supplement Judo with striking-based martial arts such as kickboxing, in order to expand their fighting arsenal.
Clip… Chris Skelley on “Defending family” // “Children, growing confidence”
Training is available for everyone. Now that women and children are taking part, does this mean the sports are less dangerous than first thought? And is MMA more dangerous than the other forms of contact sports?
It seems that injuries are not dissuading new participants and the outcomes appear to outweigh the risks. But why is self-defence necessary? And what actually influences the initial step into taking a class in combat sport? Shawn has an unusual reason behind his decision to begin Kick-boxing.
Vox-Pops … Gym Members.
For Chris, Judo was a way to help him socialise and not let his hearing impairment get in the way of his progress. But he says he has always had support.
Clip… Chris Skelley on Benefits of Judo // Support from Family and Friends
In gyms and classes across the UK it seems mixed martial arts is becoming more popular. In Essex, Pete James runs Fight Club Essex.
There appears to be many benefits from being involved in contact sports. Shawn explains the health advantages of being involved in Kick-boxing.
Clip… Shawn Burton on Health Benefits.
Clip… Matt Frost on Advantages.
Matt Frost there, explaining the rewards of MMA.
It seems that there are many misconceptions about MMA. Paul Smith, coach at S2C8, explains how MMA is actually a strict sport, and that the public are often misguided about what actually is involved.
Clip… Paul Smith on Public Perceptions.
Clip… Matt Frost explaining about using MMA / Self-Defence outside of training.
So whether or not you’re a fan of MMA, or maybe want to give it a try yourself, it appears that the sport is not as ruthless as it was first perceived, and continues to expand its appeal across the UK.
Clip… “Give it a go”.