About MSD Evolution
MSD (My Self Defence -because once you learn martial arts or a skill it is yours, you own it) Evolution is an academy that teaches traditional Karate, Kickboxing and Judo. We have classes for children from 3 years of age, all the way up to adults of any age that want to give it a go.
Teaching traditional Karate, Judo and Kickboxing to children and adults gives the academy a great feel as it encourages different goals and targets in a student’s chosen style/art.
Going back a long time ago our classes were taught in village halls and sport centres. I remember driving a van full of pads and kick shields to the hall, unloading the kit, setting up, then training/teaching, then putting it all away again, night after night. It tests your commitment, but when you love what you do, you do it.
We built up membership numbers to around 100 and I knew a full time location would be possible. It took a while to find the right place, but when I walked into the unit in Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham, I knew it was perfect. I was so excited not just for myself, but for all the students as they would all have somewhere to enjoy the training even more and really develop.
Once we opened the full time academy MSD just got busier, so much so that four and a half years later we had to relocate just around the corner into a larger unit. We now have a large training area, including an 18ft boxing ring that is suspended from a winch hoisted in the roof space which can be lowered in less than two minutes, keeping all the floor space available for karate classes.
We have a padded floor, punch bags, wall pads for jumping kicks, shower in men’s and ladies, sauna, toilets, upstairs coffee area for parents, free parking right outside, free Wi Fi.
MSD Evolution has expanded and now has a franchise club in Evesham.
With the help of NEST, we also have an Instructor Training Programme (ITP) in development for up and coming students who are looking to advance towards instructing.
About Mike Bennett
As a kid, I think I was 5/6 years old, I remember wanting to start karate, but back then there weren’t any clubs local to where I lived, in a small town in the Cotswolds. I pestered my parents about it but there wasn’t a lot they could do, so I took it on myself to join the local library and get some books on karate. Just imagine it, a scruffy, mischievous looking 5 year old kid walking into the library back in 1975 and asking the lady behind the counter for a book on karate.
So as the lady signed me up and got a selection of books on traditional karate. A typical kid I looked at the pictures mainly as all the wording was boring except for this bit “if you practice a 100 roundhouse kicks a day on each leg, you would be able to kick over a fully grown adult.” There was a picture of a Japanese guy in a Karate suit practicing a kick and that was it, I was hooked on karate. I’m 43 now and love it even more.
Now with the guidance of Gerard and help from staff at NEST, my partner Andree and I have expanded yet again – adding a Gymnasium in a separate building close to our premises in Bishops Cleeve. We have called it Zest Fitness and it has been open for a year with a growing membership.
With NEST behind us I can see the possibility of opening further academies and gymnasiums in the future.
(Interview from February 2014 )