Alex Reid reminisces about his Aldershot roots as he returns to boyhood town with new martial arts classes

February 13, 2018
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Born and bred in Aldershot, Alex Reid is returning to his roots and bringing with him some martial arts classes that he hopes will help “give back to the community”.

The ex-cage fighter, 42, was subjected to bullying as a youngster and turned to martial arts as a way of coping.

Now he hopes that martial arts can do the same for kids in Aldershot who might otherwise turn to anti-social behaviour and run into trouble.

Working alongside prominent community groups such as the Academy of Hard Knocks, Alex is running classes at The Unit Gym in Lynchford Road, North Camp.

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Evidently a family man, Alex told GetSurrey that he regularly returns to Aldershot in order to visit his mum.

Turning his back on the world of showbusiness, 2010’s Celebrity Big Brother winner says that the people of Aldershot need some inspiration, and hopes his fitness and martial arts classes can provide that.

The youngest of six siblings said: “Unfortunately in Aldershot there is so much disenfranchised youth, they don’t know any better.

“It’s easy to take drugs, sell drugs and do naughty things because it can pay your bills but they need to have some inspiration.

Alex goes to work on one of the punch bags
(Image: Federica Battiato)

“When you surround yourself with the right people, you want better things out of life.

“I always try and surround myself with people who are better than me and try and learn more to set goals.

“That’s the problem with these kids – they don’t have goals.”

Alex, aka “The Reidernator”, is not the only person who is using the combat sport as a means to promote mental and physical well-being in the community.

Alex gives his adult class instructions
(Image: Federica Battiato)

The Academy of Hard Knocks also uses The Unit Gym as a base for its classes and aims to provide support for youth in the community, especially those in need of guidance and role models.

Founder Sam Rowe has been running the academy for five years and described the project as his “baby”.

Sam, who has previously won the High Sheriff of Hampshire Award, is helping others based on his own experiences, having spent more than nine years of his adult life in prison.

He said: “Most of my adult life, I have been in and out of jail – now I try and keep people out of jail.

From L to R: Alex Reid, Martell Miles (head kickboxing coach), Jason Brookes (manager), Sam Rowe (founder Academy of Hard Knocks), Dave and Laura Hoppe (gym owners)
(Image: Federica Battiato)

Classes at the academy used to be free but Sam is hopeful that despite their recent funding cut, children and their families will be still be willing to pay a nominal fee for the tuition.

On working out of the same gym as Alex, Sam said: “He certainly is a character.

“He has been around, knows his stuff and now he’s trying his hand at a bit of fitness training – best of luck to him.”

Alex’s kids and adults classes are running separately on Monday nights and enquiries should be directed at The Unit Gym.

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Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/hampshire-news/alex-reid-reminisces-aldershot-roots-14280584


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