Martial arts is growing in West Sussex after Olympics boost

Aron Moorhouse, instructor with ZDL Martial Arts Academy  Picture by Kate Shemilt
Aron Moorhouse, instructor with ZDL Martial Arts Academy Picture by Kate Shemilt

A martial arts academy in Chichester hopes to build on the feelgood factor of the Olympics.

ZDL Martial Arts Academy has experiencd a significant increase in members since the London Games and instructors are trying to encourage more young athletes to take part in a sport which has seen its popularity soar in recent months.

The academy was started in 1997 by Omar El-kilany and Andrew Austin and has been going from strength to strength since. The academy offers athletes the chance to learn kung fu, kickboxing, tai chi, grappling and kickboxing.

Aron Moorhouse, an instructor for the academy, is confident the Olympics can have a lasting effect on the sport.

“We’ve had a significant increase in members in the last few months, but it’s hard to say if the Olympics will have a long-term effect on the sport,” he said.

“It’s up to the instructors and parents to encourage young competitors to take up the sport and make use of the many facilities across West Sussex.”

Aron joined the academy when he was 14, but left two years later and joined the military. He rejoined the academy four years ago and is eager to promote the many faciliies available across the county.

“It really is an exceptional area to study. We have so many talented teachers and people who are passionate about their respective arts,” he said.

“I feel we really have something to shout about, and it would be great to introduce more, especially young people, to what Chichester and the surrounding area can offer. The classes are fun, friendly and available to anyone, whatever your ability.”

News of ZDL’s growth is in line with increased interest in the Blue Dragon Tae Kwondo Club, as reported in the Observer last week.

Youngsters are always encouraged to take part in popular sports such as football and cricket, but with London 2012 putting the spotlight on sports that have never really recieved widespead attention, fans of martial arts have reason to feel optimistic for the future.

If you are interested in joining the academy, call Aron on 07826 486070. Or for information about the academy you can find more deails at