National Volunteers Week is in action from 1st -7th June 2023! Our Founder and Head Instructor, Mr Paul Kelly, volunteers his time to the English Mixed Martial Arts Association (EMMAA) where he sits as the Head Coach of the Team England adult squad. Paul talks below about volunteering with EMMAA, the achievements the squad has seen and what volunteering brings him on a personal level.
My name is Paul Kelly, I am the founder and Head instructor at Team Mac MMA and the Martial Arts Concepts group of academies. I am a lifelong martial artist, with training in JKD, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Filipino Kali, an Instructor in Erik Paulsons CSW/MMA, a senior boxing coach and 3rd degree blackbelt in BJJ under Professor Braulio Estima. I believe martial art is for everyone – child to adult – and the opportunities to grow and develop through martial art training whether hobbyist or competitor should be accessible for everyone.
I am also, in a voluntary capacity, the Head Coach of the EMMAA Junior and Senior squads and have been instrumental in the growth (with other volunteer team members) of England as a team to an unprecedented 12 medals at international level in the past 18 months. After being involved in martial arts for close to 50 years and having started my first full time academy 25 years ago I have seen first hand how martial arts can positively impact lives from young children to adults and to professional level elite athletes. It has allowed me to follow my passion every day as well as facilitating a martial arts groups with a dedicated team of people able to make a living from sharing their passion and expertise. It has also kept me in a circle of influence with positive people and people that take action in their personal development.
EMMAA allows me to apply my experience in the development of the sport of MMA at a National level and to support a team of young athletes to compete internationally against the rest of the world. It is a dream for most people to represent their country at the highest level and to be part of that is a real privilege for me.
It also means that I get to work with other members of the EMMAA team who are supporting and developing amateur MMA for the good of the athletes and the sport, in my mind, great goals attract great people and I’m proud to be part of that team with all the challenges it brings.
Finally, if we can forge opportunities for young individuals to pursue a career in MMA, ensuring their safety and enforcing robust safeguarding protocols, all while facilitating life-changing experiences, then I am dedicated to making that a reality. This would be a contribution reflective of the extraordinary life that martial arts has afforded me.