A FORMER karate world champion born in Silsden is offering martial arts classes in the town.

Paul Newby, whose Combat Arts Academy was previously based in Cross Hills, relocated in January and hosts sessions for those looking for a hobby as well as those wanting to compete professionally.

The former champion, who is also an undefeated professional boxer, offers classes in mixed martial Arts (MMA), boxing, wrestling and karate, as well as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.

“I trained in Silsden when I was competing for world titles and I’ve been coaching full-time for years, but I’ve never been able to get into my home town because there’s never been anywhere to open,” Newby said.

“I jumped at the chance to open my gym at home.”

Newby was appointed the Youth Olympic coach for the GB Karate team and trains three youngsters looking to qualify for the Buenos Aires games in October.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I got that job over a year ago and our competitors have been travelling around the world in that time doing exceptionally well,” Newby said.

“To help these kids get to an Olympics is really exciting and it’s a major honour.”

Newby is encouraging those in the local area to take up his classes, either for recreational hobbies or for something more serious.

“We’re a small village in Yorkshire and I don’t think people realise the standard of what we’re producing here,” the coach said.

“People coming to the gym can get fit and learn a martial art, while also rubbing shoulders with possible future Olympians, which is very unusual.

“I’ve done all the legwork by fighting across the world and now that I’ve brought my gym to Silsden, people can walk out the door, walk to the gym and be coached by world-class instructors, who all fight internationally.

“There’s something for everybody and I think everyone should be doing martial arts. It’s good for your fitness and self-confidence and it’s sociable.

“The added benefit here is that it’s all regulated correctly and delivered properly.”

Prices for Newby’s sessions vary, with options in place to pay per session, while it is also possible to book a month of sessions or take up a pay-as-you-go offer.

Those interested should contact Newby on 07805 071874.