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Fight for Peace Boxing Coaches Deliver Perfect Combination of Life Lessons and Laughter
A video case study documenting the club culture and coaching practice at Fight for Peace, an international organisation that delivers programmes to support young people to reach their full potential, and which prides itself on providing great child-first boxing experiences.
by Blake Richardson
Children and young people take part in boxing for a variety of reasons: for fun, friendship, or fitness – possibly all three. Boxing aficionados eager to study the ‘sweet science’ may want to box competitively, while many young boxers will dream of becoming the next Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury.
Fight for Peace caters for everyone, whatever their motive for joining a boxing club.
Proudly describing itself as a “youth-led” organisation, at Fight for Peace boxers are given a central role in their own learning and development.
Children and young people have the right to be listened to and have their views, feelings and wishes taken seriously, and coaches at Fight for Peace understand that they have a responsibility to support children to realise their rights and to help them develop holistically, as people as well as performers. (You can read more about children’s fundamental rights in our article, Coaching Children’s Rights in a Sport Environment).
Level 2 boxing coach Kenny Udenwoke uses boxing to engage young people living in North Woolwich, an under resourced area of East London where Fight for Peace set up an Academy in 2008 to offer opportunities and targeted support to young people to enable them to reach their full potential.
The virtuous circle set in motion by its coaches revolves around teaching young people discipline, strength of character, a feeling of belonging and the understanding that success comes through hard work and dedication – a mantra of every coach at Fight for Peace.
“Not every kid is going to want to be a competitive boxer, but if we are able to use their initial interest as an engagement tool to get them through the door, then we can help them and keep them here to see how else we can support them,” says Kenny.
“We have a whole network of support coordinators who understand the importance of a wraparound approach to supporting young people at every stage of their lives – from mentoring, to helping young people re-engage with learning, to coordinators dedicated to helping people look for employment.”
Club Case Study: Fight for Peace
Teaching boxing at the school of hard knocks
Using boxing as a way of creating peace may sound like a paradox but this is exactly what Fight for Peace has been doing since its inception in 2000, when Founder and Director Luke Dowdney – a former light-middleweight universities champion – visited the Complexo da Maré favelas in Rio de Janeiro whilst visiting Brazil to write his dissertation for his degree in anthropology.
Using boxing as an engagement tool, his holistic coaching methods showed how it was possible to improve the life chances of children by improving their physical and mental health, discipline, respect for self and others, and help them build meaningful relationships with coaches, mentors and friends.
The reality of training at a boxing club is very different from the public perception of boxing as a violent sport. As our video of one of Kenny’s sessions shows, there is so much more to boxing than two people squaring off inside a ring.
That would be failing to grasp the life-affirming and life-changing impact recreational boxing has on young people, facilitated by dedicated coaches who are committed to supporting young people to realise their potential through the implementation of child-first coaching principles.
Read more about the impact child-first coaching practice can have on children and young people in our accompanying feature with Kenny: How to Coach Boxing to Kids.
Just the jab!
Fight for Peace provides young people with education, employability, and access to leadership programmes to enable them to channel their experiences positively, so that they can build new skills, project positive energy throughout their lives and ultimately bring peace and cohesion to communities.
Children and young people who come along to our sessions learn to take ownership and develop drive and discipline, and our coaching methodology means that they don’t even realise they are developing those skills,” says Kenny.
Kenny Udenwoke Fight for Peace Academy
With a child-first coach by your side who cares about investing time and energy to nurture your development, the possibilities are limitless, and the chances of a happier, healthier life are multiplied.
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