A LONG standing martial arts centre has undergone a refurbishment after beginning a new chapter.

Chief instructor Lee Dingwall established Dingwall Kickbox Karate (DKBK) and it is situated in Dovercourt.

DKBK are founding members of Harwich and Dovercourt Martial Arts Association and are members of the British Combat Association. 

They meet every Wednesday night in the purpose-built fully matted and air conditioned Highfield Avenue dojo.

The club’s history began in 1996 when Lee and some friends took on a derelict building.

Beginning in 1997, they restyled the building’s interior to become a dojo while the council handled the plumbing and electrics.

In the meantime, training took place elsewhere until renovations were completed in the following year.

DKBK bases its style and punches on Wadō-ryū, which originates from Japan and is one of the four major karate styles.

However, they also incorporate elements including ground fighting, locks, holds, self defence and traditional strikes.

The renovations came about after the dojo amassed sufficient money to fund it.

Carolyn Rowland, one of the instructors at DKBK, explained they charge £4 per lesson.

Carolyn added she hoped the refurbishments would help attract people back to DKBK, after losing numbers during the pandemic.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Combat - Sparring sessionCombat - Sparring session (Image: Submitted)

She said: “Being a contact sport, we were one of the last to do anything

“We got back just before Judo, they can’t do anything but throw people around - we punch and kick.

“People started to drift away.

“Lee and I both have other commitments, so we decided we were only going to do one night a week.”

Carolyn said Harwich Town Council did not charge rent during lockdown.

She added: “Obviously, we were still having to pay standing charge for electrics and water rates.

“Harwich Town Council were brilliant, they really waited until we got things up and really running before we started to pay any rent.”

The renovations are not the only recent triumph for DKBK, as they held their latest grading.

All seven pupils successfully passed and proceeded to the next belt.

Those that graded were:

Jasper Cooke - White Belt

Axel Townsend - Red Belt

Abel Townsend - Red Belt

Jayden Kett - Red Belt

Harry Glen-Barber - Yellow Belt 

Taylor Warner - Yellow Belt 

Thomas Porter - Purple Belt