Stingray Martial Arts is not only growing in numbers, but members are developing discipline and strong kicks each day.The martial arts club was formed early September in an effort to take children off the streets. The club currently has 55 students aged between five and 16. The members are mostly from Ocean View but some hail from Masiphumelele.The coaches are founders Raymond “Stingray” Shaw, Nadine Fuerst joined by Mec Crain, Lyndall Sandenbergh and Carlo Daniels. The children are in safe hands as one of the founders, Shaw from Fish Hoek, is an MMA champion, British boxing champion and British kick-boxing champion. Fuerst, originally from Germany, came to South Africa 11 years ago to volunteer with children with special needs from Ocean View and Masiphumelele. She decided to stay in Ocean View to get more involved in the community because children are close to her heart. “About two-and-a half years ago she started with Mec and Lyndall at Mec’s Martial Arts. When we met, we both decided to try to make an impact in the Ocean View community to start free MMA and kick-boxing classes to teach the kids not only a new skill but also self-confidence, body awareness, balance and to stand up for themselves,” says Shaw.Shaw decided to provide martial art classes in Ocean View because MMA has been a big part of his life and has changed it for the better. “I believe it (MMA) has the ability to change [the children’s lives]. I chose Ocean View because Nadine had lived there for 11 years and Carlo Daniels is a teacher at Marine Primary so it was easy to spread the word and find students,” he says.According to Shaw, the children who have joined and are attending classes at the club are showing a great improvement and he says they are also seeing a lot of personal development. “Not only have their boxing and kick-boxing skills improved but they have learned to share equipment like boxing gloves and pads without argument. “Kids who have picked up techniques and combos faster are starting to help and teach other kids. This is really nice to watch as it shows that what we are teaching them is really sinking in and they are improving their lives every day,” he says.They hold three classes a week at the Open Door in Ocean View. On Tuesdays there is an MMA class for kids aged between five and 10. On Thursdays there is an MMA class for students aged 11 to 16, and on Saturdays the whole club practises. All classes are at 15:00.“We do boxing and Mauy Thai. We would like to do some ground work like wrestling and Jiu Jitsu but we need funding for mats. Our last quote for mats was R9000 and we need help to raise that money. “With mats we would be able to practise ground fighting (wrestling, judo, grappling) and it would also prevent a lot of injuries. We need equipment like MMA gloves/boxing gloves, and shin pads for sparring. Any donations will help us do more to help these children that have shown such a great interest,” says Shaw. V For more information, email email@example.com.