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Bury St Edmunds martial arts instructor Billy Wappett finds a new permanent home for his classes in Fornham All Saints



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A popular martial arts and fitness instructor is celebrating after opening a new training unit.

Billy Wappett, from Bury St Edmunds, opened the new unit for his Fighting Fit Martial Arts club at Fornham All Saints Community Centre last week.

Fighting Fit was founded in 1983 at Northumberland Avenue Methodist Church and then was held at several other locations including Southgate Community Centre, Tollgate Primary School and The Gatehouse.

Martial Arts instructor Billy Wappett now has his own permanent unit for his martial arts classes. Picture by Mecha Morton
Martial Arts instructor Billy Wappett now has his own permanent unit for his martial arts classes. Picture by Mecha Morton

Mr Wappett, 64, who is also a well-known community champion, is now renting the new unit, which measures 34ft by 10ft, and says he is ‘over the moon’ with his new permanent location.

As a close contact sport, martial arts suffered badly during the pandemic as he couldn’t hold his classes.

Mr Wappet has taught martial arts to tens of thousands of people from Bury and surrounding areas over the years and doesn’t intend to stop any time soon.

Billy Wappett inside his new unit at Fornham All Saints.
Billy Wappett inside his new unit at Fornham All Saints.

“I’m like a kid in a sweetshop at the new unit,” he said.

“Everyone who has seen it has said ‘Wow’, as it does look stunning.

“It’s all white inside with colourful crash mats and equipment.

“It was tough during lockdown as I couldn’t run the classes for many months and the best I could do was hold outdoor training in a gazebo outside, under the rule of six, when that was allowed.

Billy is a 7th Dan black belt
Billy is a 7th Dan black belt

“Now we are properly back in business and raring to go.”

Billy is a 7th Dan Black Belt, has already started martial arts Tae-Kwon-Do, Kickboxing and fitness classes at the new venue.

He now holds classes for 12 children at a time or eight adults, and says smaller classes enhance learning opportunities for students with the smaller student-instructor ratios.

“My motivation with the classes has been the same throughout; to build confidence,” he said.

You can learn a lot from martial arts and not just self defence skills.

"It helps give people a chance, and people of all ages have found the marital arts and fitness classes beneficial.

Classes for children and adults are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

But Mr Wappett has plans to hold additional sessions including family classes, adults only and one-to-one classes for martial arts, self-defence and fitness.

Students wishing to join Fighting Fit are advised to book sessions as spaces are limited.

“I am now teaching the grandchildren of some of my original students and have seen all the generations pass though,” he said.

“I look forward to welcoming students old and new.”

Find out more at Billy's Facebook page here

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