How martial arts keeps English champion fighting fit

15 November 2016

Martial arts is a great way to keep fighting fit – no matter what your age or ability, says Charles Spring, England’s latest karate champion and lecturer in Wellness at the University of Derby.

Charles has just won the English Championship in Traditional Veterans Kata and Weapons forms, a series of precise and detailed movements which require skill, stamina and discipline.

It’s the second year running that he has taken the title, and he’s now looking at having a go at the world championship.

Charles taught in the University’s Sport department for many years, but now lectures on the BSc (Hons) Wellness Management course, the first of its kind in the UK, which equips graduates for a career in this dynamic and vibrant industry, worth £3.4 trillion globally.

“I’ve been doing martial arts for 44 years, and was competing in my 20s and 30,” said Charles, who with colleagues develops specialist skills and knowledge combining business, management, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, physical activity, coaching and mentoring as part of the Wellness programme.

Martial arts competition winners

“For me, martial arts is all about keeping mind, body and spirit active. Competing gives me a real focus on all these aspects of wellbeing. I would never have considered 20 years ago that I would be in my 50s and still talking about world championships.”

Wellness was increasingly important for today’s aging population, he said: “If you want to stay away from the hospitals or the doctor, you have to find something which helps your body as a whole.”

More and more older people are taking up sport and keeping fit, and everyone can take part in martial arts.

“Even if you are in a wheelchair or have difficulty walking, there is a martial art for you,” said Charles, who works closely with the Disability Martial Arts Association. “The other thing is that they keep your mind active too and offer a social space with firm friendships that can be formed - all very important aspects of overall wellness.’