Rafid, a member of the Fight for Peace London Academy, has recently won an Outstanding Dedication to Judo award for his commitment and contribution to the sport.
Fight for Peace combines boxing and martial arts with education and personal development to realise the potential of young people in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion. They provide young people with the tools and support structures they need to become life champions and create positive futures for themselves.
His coach Darren nominated him in recognition of the great strides he has made at Fight for Peace.
Rafid first attended Fight for Peace with a friend at the end of 2015. It was the first introduction to the sport for the pair of them, and they both attended looking for something “a bit different.”
He had previous experience of martial arts through Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“I started doing judo a bit by accident; the class switched over from jiu jitsu to judo but, not wearing my glasses, I didn’t see the changeover. I was quite confused at first! I like judo a lot but I still do both sports. but now I enjoy judo; I would probably say a bit more than BJJ!”
“My previous life was boring, other than school and home I wasn’t really doing anything. I am one of the shy people and so I felt more comfortable in BJJ where I wasn’t around too many people.” Rafid explained.
“The main change that I’ve noticed from coming here is that my confidence has gone up massively. I was always that person who sat in the corner, not speaking to anyone before I came here.”
“Now though, I walk around talking to different people, coaching new people, helping get them started – I really like that actually. I may want to do a bit more coaching further down the line. I just love coming and sitting in the hub here at the Academy, because everybody talks to you!”
“Rafid is an outstanding member of the Fight for Peace judo team, always there and now up beat – judo seems to be a good release for him!” explained Darren.
“He was a very shy boy before, but now he helps during sessions and I feel that he is very valuable to the progress of the programme”, added his coach.
“Darren, my coach, is a bit of a crazy man – he is not the boring type! And the lessons are always fun – he’s a brilliant coach. Actually, I see him as less of a coach and more of a mate that I can always turn to for support” joked Rafid.