Conflict Management Instructor and volunteer Paul Otley, from Lincoln, has been praised by Scotland Yard for his development of a programme to stop young people committing crimes.
The Underdogs programme aims to tackle crime and the recruitment of youngsters for criminal purposes through techniques based on the disciplines of martial arts.
Paul, of Seishin Kai Martial Arts, has worked as a volunteer for many years with young people in the UK and USA, and launched his own project in 2014 known as “Underdogs” to help tackle crime and help change the paths of young people at a vulnerable time in their lives.
In addition to receiving the praise, an adapted version of Underdogs has now been trialled within the Probation Service focusing on the same core values of discipline, self control and discovery of self worth.
Paul is currently in talks with several youth organisations to expand the project across the UK, particularly in higher crime areas where gangs are more common.
He said: “What makes Underdogs unique is that it incorporates behaviour and education requirements while participants learn control and basic techniques based on the disciplines of classical Martial Arts.
“Those accepted into the programme know that training is a privilege.
“The programme gives them some security and a sense of belonging to something productive and gives them space to think, learn new skills, overcome their fears and experience a sense of accomplishment.”