Martial arts expert has plans to create new training centre

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Michael Blood, owner of Blood Fitness, which specialises in Muay Thai, will turn the old Jersey International Business School building at 12-13 Caledonia Place, next to the Tunnel, into the Jersey Martial Arts and Fitness Academy.

Mr Blood runs classes in a gym on the balcony of the Queen’s Hall but is hoping to build the Island’s first martial arts training centre, which would be available to multiple clubs and disciplines.

Earlier this year, the government announced plans to find new homes for the sports organisations based at the Fort, deeming the ageing facility no longer suitable as a venue for many activities.

Scaffolding around the property has gone up and Mr Blood, a former British Muay Thai champion, said he is hoping to open the new facility in March 2022.

He added that opening the centre had always been a ‘dream’ of his.

‘We have got the builders in at the minute and, once all the changes to the structure are made, we will begin moving in our gym and boxing equipment. The new facility will allow us to expand our current operation and so we will be investing in new equipment as well.

‘This is a huge step forward for martial arts in the Island. Having a top class facility will allow us to continue growing, it will only enhance the level of our current fighters and it will provide more opportunities to get Islanders into the sport, as well as bring over other clubs from the UK to train and fight,’ he said.

As part of the plans, the ground floor would feature a reception area, supplement shop, a weight-training area as well as disabled changing facilities. The first floor would be a matted dojo used specifically for Blood Fitness and the top floor would act as studio space which could be rented out by other clubs.

Mr Blood added: ‘Martial arts isn’t as mainstream as football or rugby but we are hoping this new facility, right on the edge of town, will attract more people into the sport. We already have a great crop of juniors attending our classes and we want to get as many involved, keep kids off the streets and into physical activity.

‘We have already been in contact with some of the other sports at the Fort and we are hoping we can provide a space for some of them to come and use once they move out as well.

‘We have been in touch with Jersey Sport as well and we want to provide an opportunity for children in schools and anyone else that is keen to be involved.’

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