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Reaching the community through karate

519. Marc Grayston

A karate instructor from Essex has used karate to give back to his community and develop the youth of Basildon.

Marc Grayston has practiced karate since he was just four years old, becoming a coach at 16. When a local karate instructor dropped out of local classes, Marc took the opportunity to step in and provide classes to more than 100 disadvantaged children four times a week every week.

His club, Maru Karate Kai, employs a unique style of teaching which retains the traditional techniques and learnings of karate, whilst interjecting humour and interaction to build confidence and self esteem. Marc has also secured funding to allow him to offer free karate classes and to provide over 300 women with free self defence courses.

He formed the club in 2009 at his local primary school reaching more than 100 people every single week . He has spearheaded a hugely successful drive for funding and has been successful in 80% of his applications, meaning that they can afford to provide classes to disadvantaged children for just £1 a week.

Marc has also run ten courses over the last four years for local women wanting to learn self-defence. The classes not only improve self defence but also improve their self confidence and make them feel part of the community again. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Marc has worked tirelessly to help young people in Essex share his love of karate. By adapting his teaching to focus on building confidence and self-esteem, Marc is helping the young people he works with to build skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. The free self-defence classes Marc offers to women are also a valuable contribution to his local community, and I am delighted to recognise his service by making him the UK’s 519th Point of Light.”

Marc said:

“I am incredibly humbled by this award. To win the Point of Light Award is a fantastic recognition of what we have been doing in the Basildon community. I would also like to thank the children who attend the classes on a weekly basis who genuinely keep a smile on my face at all times – they make it all worth it.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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