Moroccan kickboxers arrive to train with Hastings group

Carl Denne, left, with the four Moroccon kickboxers
Carl Denne, left, with the four Moroccon kickboxers

A GROUP of kickboxers from Morocco arrived in 1066 Country on Tuesday (March 18) as part of an exchange visit.

Members of Assouar Kickboxing Club were invited to come over from the north African country by Hastings Kickboxing Academy (HKA).

This week’s arrival of the contingent follows a similar exchange visit by Hastings kickboxers to Morocco last year.

HKA, led by Carl Denne, spent five days working with young people at Assouar Kickboxing Club, in Taroudant, a small town in the south of the country, last April.

The school operates as a drop-in centre with the aim of helping disadvantaged young people in the region.

The four Moroccan kickboxers are training here in Hastings ahead of the club’s Fight Night II tomorrow (Saturday).

Carl said: “I was lucky enough to be put in contact with Youness Ait Baaya, founder of Assouar Kickboxing Club, in Morocco at the beginning of 2013, and asked if would like to go to Morocco to help coach a group of children and young adults. Following the successful trip last April, I wanted to continue the exchange and invite the group of Assouar kickboxers to the UK and for them come and train with us at HKA for one week. I also wanted to offer them a fantastic opportunity to compete in my second organised martial arts event of 2014, which is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) at the Hastings Centre.”

Arranging the trip took quite a bit of time and paperwork as the young Moroccans needed to obtain visas, which were issued by the British embassy in Rabat ahead of this week’s visit.

Carl added: “As part of their trip to the UK, I would like to work as closely as possible with our kickboxers, teaching them our way of training, along with allowing them to participate in the competition and showing them all aspects of UK life while they are here. There will also be a few rest days where I will show them around Hastings Castle, 1066 Battlefield and the beautiful coastline.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd showed her support for HKA on Friday (March 14), by visiting the club’s new premises and offering any help and support they needed to strengthen the new links they are making with Assouar Kickboxing Club. She said: “I was delighted to visit the new facilities that HKA is using, and to hear all about the amazing work that is going on at the academy. Carl is a true inspiration for the children who attend the academy and for the residents of Hastings. On my visit I was keen to stress that I would offer any help and support I could to cement the links between Hastings and Morocco.”