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Boxing with heart at West Kingsdown

A result of the well documented evidence of how boxing training helps to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease, West Kingsdown Boxing Club (WKD) were approached by their Club Support Officer, Avoen Perryman, to host a bespoke Parkinson’s workshop.

In November 2019 England Boxing, in partnership with Parkinsons UK delivered the workshop at WKD with coaches from various boxing clubs in attendance including Mickey Bowden, Colin Neill and Danny Pollard of WKD. The workshop was designed to help develop and upskill the coaches to enable them to deliver sessions to the Parkinson’s community.

Initially sceptical, Colin Neill, a coach with over forty years experience, was impressed at the impact the training could have on people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. “I can remember my response was that I couldn’t see how this could work but hearing more about the benefits I was inspired to help people with this condition. The training covered the importance of using the correct terms when working with those with the condition, but also explained how, as boxing involved complicated movements of the head, hands and feet, it leads to the production of dopamine and increased dopamine production is a huge benefit to those with Parkinson’s.”

Sadly, the pandemic impacted the start of WKD being able to deliver the Parkinson’s sessions, especially as those with the condition needed to take extra precautions to stay safe.

However, in February this year, three years after the training workshop, the first Parkinson’s session was held at WKD with only three people at the first session, Christine, Colin and John. It took some gentle encouragement for Christine to get involved, who at first wanted to only watch, but soon had the confidence to join the others.


Colin added: “I learnt a lot from that first session at how normal training would need to be adapted. Getting into the ring and climbing over the ropes wasn’t easy for them – so we focused on shadow boxing and using the bags and pads. The group worked hard, and I could see the improvement in their skills, co-ordination and confidence. We
soon grew from a group of 3 to 10 people – probably the most we can take in a single class!”

The impact of the class on those that take it, is all the motivation Colin needs to continue with this work.

He continued to say: “They describe training as an escape from the condition, one member told me that boxing made them feel ‘normal’ when they were training and for a few hours after. Another, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, was only concerned with how his cancer diagnosis, would impact his boxing and how soon he could return to the club.”

WKD have been able to provide these sessions for one year due to the funding and support from England Boxing and Parkinson’s UK. Active Kent and Medway have kindly funded the purchase of boxing gloves for the Parkinson’s participants and most recently, The Community Cupboard, have helped with providing supplies for the well-earned cup of tea after the weekly sessions! WKD hope these classes can continue for years to come and provide support and relief to those with Parkinson’s.

• In addition to the Parkinson’s classes, WKD Boxing Club run boxing training sessions for children and young people aged 10 and above with separate classes for boys, girls, men and female only classes together with 1:1 sessions. If you would like to get involved you can contact them at wkdbox@outlook.com.

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