Martial arts school in Halifax is helping to improve members' mental health

Duane Harper, Nico Bajerski and Leo Negao (from left to right).
Duane Harper, Nico Bajerski and Leo Negao (from left to right).

A martial arts school in Boothtown is improving peoples’ lives - and even helping to save them.

Citus mixed martial arts school runs 20 classes every week and helps its members get fit, improve their self-esteem and join a supportive community.

“Of course, we help turn people into good fighters,” said Nico Bajerski, Citus’ head trainer. “But really it’s about enhancing self-belief, motivation and well-being through fitness.”

But Citus haven’t just helped to enhance lives, they’ve helped to save them, too.

Last year, one of Citus’ newest members, Tony, attempted to take his own life. In a bid to battle his depression, Tony joined Citus in December. With the help of Nico and his staff, Tony has thrown himself into his training, attending the school fives times a week - and the effects have been incredible.

“My entire life has changed due to this place,” says Tony. “It’s saved me. My frame of mind has changed, my dedication has changed, my life with my wife has changed. I can now hold my head up high.”

People like Tony are the best reason for us to exist,” explains Nico. “Citus gives people the tools they need to improve their lives through mixed martial arts.”

READ MORE: More still to be done to improve mental health services in Calderdale