We have all been shocked and saddened by the images we are seeing on our TV’s and in our newspapers about the terrible situation in the Ukraine and the suffering of the Ukrainian people fleeing as refugees into their neighbouring countries.

After hearing this, four Somerset martial arts instructors have got together to raise funds for the Disaster Emergency Committee - Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal to help them. At a special seminar called Martial Arts Aid For Ukraine, instructors from Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Krav Maga and Karate will take it in turns to teach for an hour each, sharing practical self defence applications from their particular martial art. This event is open to anybody who practices martial arts, regardless of style or association

There is no set fee, but participants will be invited to make a donation to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal.

Event organiser Charlie Wildish said: “We are doing this on a donation only basis for two reasons. Firstly to keep the cost family friendly if several people from the same family wish to attend. But also we hope attendees will donate what they think it’s worth and we’re very confident that they’ll find it very worthwhile.”

Part of this confidence comes from the fact that three of the instructors have worked together on similar seminars for charity before, which have all be successful. Apart from Charlie (Holistic Karate), this includes Keith Cormack (Spirit of Shaolin Kung Fu) and Derek Skidmore (DES Tae Kwon Do). At their previous events, the three Midsomer Norton based instructors have raised money for the Air Ambulance, a TKD group in Ghana and Parkinson’s disease. Due to the pandemic and lock-down it’s been several years since they’ve worked together, but the situation in Ukraine inspired them that it was time to get together again.

Derek Skidmore summed it up perfectly: “It’s interesting that four instructors from different backgrounds and martial arts from Korea, Japan, China and Israel are coming together to help the people of another nation, and I’m very proud to get together with these gentlemen for such an amazing and desperate cause.”

Keith Cormack added: “When the everyday people of the world want peace, why do we allow power mad war mongers to make us fight for peace.”

This time however, they’re being joined by Mark Edwards, who teaches Krav Maga in Wells, Bridgwater and Taunton (Somerset Krav Maga). Mark is a former instructor for the Royal Marine Commandos and later he had his own close protection body guarding business. Mark brings a lot of knowledge and experience to an already well established group.

He said: “As a self-defence instructor and personal trainer over the last eleven years, I have helped men and women in the local community experience the many benefits of a martial arts and fitness lifestyle. I truly believe that good fitness and self-defence training should be evidence-based, demanding, enjoyable and accessible to everyone.”

The event will take place from 11 am on Saturday, 2nd April at Norton Hill School Sports Centre, Midsomer Norton, BA3 4AN.

Anybody wanting to take part in this seminar can find out more information from the Facebook Event page at: www.facebook.com/events/1290108288153918 or email: [email protected].

If anybody is unable to attend, but would still like to donate, they can do so at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martial-arts-ukraine.