Hastings Leader - 2021-05-05


Free wrestling academy opens for Hastings kids


Shannon Johnstone

Anew, free wrestling academy for children is opening in Hastings this May. Calvary Hawke’s Bay pastor and certified wrestling coach Eric Flores wanted to open Golgotha Grappling Academy as part of his church outreach to share the benefits it has had in his life with local children. In February, Eric moved to Hastings from Whanga¯rei, where he had coached at the Lions Den MMA gym. “Learning martial arts was a game-changer for me and I want that for my students. “I saw how much the kids up there enjoyed themselves and how their characters developed. I know that local kids from Hastings will love it, too.” Children aged 9-14 can take part with their parents’ permission. Eric is a certified coach with USA Wrestling and Catch Wrestling Alliance and is a first-degree blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, studying under Professor Gustavo Gasperin, a third-degree black belt under Fabricio Werdum. He began his martial arts journey at age 11 in taekwondo when his mother signed him up after seeing his interest in the movies he watched. He didn’t want cost to be a barrier to children joining so the twice-weekly after school sessions are free. “My main focus with Golgotha Academy is that kids are active, have fun and are safe. “Along the way they’ll learn how to defend themselves, grow in confidence and learn some of the disciplines, such as self control, that are part of martial arts.” The hour-long classes include a warm-up then learning two or three techniques before finishing with short bouts. Eric says there is a strong safety culture, as folkstyle and catch wrestling do not involve striking. The sessions start on Monday, May 3, 3.30pm at the Hastings Sports Centre and will run for the school term. Parents can get in touch with Eric on the Golgotha Grappling Academy Facebook or Instagram page.


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