A COLCHESTER martial arts champion is looking to give back to the community which has supported him by offering free self-defence classes.

James Webb is the first and only Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world champion in the region after taking the crown back in 2019.

Like his friend, the boxer Lewis Richardson, he now wants to do something positive for the city by helping them learn potentially vital manoeuvres. 

On Sunday, James will be hold a free self-defence workshop from 9.30am at the Ultra Performance and Recovery Centre at 18 Angora Business Park, Stanway.

During the two-hour workshop, which is for those aged 14 and above, James will begin with an essential workout before starting a few mobility drills.

As well as a further strength-and-conditioning style activity, the focus will be on self-defence for all, including basic kickboxing combinations, simple boxing grappling, and where people can put their arms when in danger.

James, who runs the Combat Institute in Angora Business Park, is holding the sessions in aid of the Salvation Army Christmas Gift Appeal. 

He said: “Over the last few years, what we’ve seen is a lot more poverty throughout Colchester.

"Some people won’t be going too mad at Christmas – or will be going without.

“It breaks my heart to think that children would be going without.”

Gazette: Gifts- James Webb's fundraising is part of the Salvation Army's Christmas appeal to give gifts to 11-16 year-olds Gifts- James Webb's fundraising is part of the Salvation Army's Christmas appeal to give gifts to 11-16 year-olds (Image: The Salvation Army)

At the end of the session, James will help answer questions and address misinformation about self-defence.

James, who does not want to offer a “gruelling pace” during the sessions, believes as well as testing mental ability, MMA can build confidence and positivity in young people. 

He said: “It’s not about getting them to fight, it’s about making them better human beings."

According to James, MMA is also really important in helping “unsure and lost kids” find support in the community.

He now hopes, alongside Peter Dutch from the Lakelands Centre, he will soon be helping the police to bring children into the institute to improve lives.

“If I can change one child’s life then I’m happy with that, but ideally, I would like to change all of them," he said.

The Salvation Army ask that anyone attending the self-defence class take a long a gift for 11–16-year-olds or a monetary donation.