A MARTIAL arts coach in Newport who is making a difference in the community is celebrating his school’s success.

Wayne Arandjelovic set up Newport MMA in 2003 and now has more than 100 students a week – with the youngest being his own four-year-old daughter, and the eldest being 56.

The martial arts school - which is based in Kelvedon Street, off Corporation Road - relies on six instructors, including Mr Arandjelovic, who teach several martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Kung Fu.

Mr Arandjelovic said: “We have been here for nearly 15 years, but I have been doing martial arts for more than 30 years - it is something I have been doing since I was a kid.

“It is a sport that has become more than just my hobby and is now my business.”

Mr Arandjelovic, from the Lliswerry area of Newport, said learning martial arts is good for children for several reasons, including giving them confidence.

“I have also had parents telling me that their child has improved performance at school since coming here,” he added. “Earlier this month, we had three European champions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

“It was a big competition, called Junior European No Gi Angi championship, with more than 1,500 kids taking part. The three of them got gold.”

The 36-year-old said his biggest achievement in his martial arts career has been achieving a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a few weeks ago.

“It takes up to 12 years to get a black belt – I started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Canada back in 2002,” he said. “When I got back to Newport, I opened Newport MMA and stopped learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a while to focus on cage fighting. Then, in 2010, I started to focus on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu again.

“I am the only instructor in Newport with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt.

“What I enjoy is the fact you get to meet people from all walks of life, people you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise.”

He said he is really grateful for the support he has had from the students, and their parents, as well as his wife.

Cerys Bridge, from Maesglas, is one of the students at the school. The 13-year-old, who has been learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Newport MMA for six years, said she has 13 medals, including several golds.

Cerys, who has a grey belt with a black stripe, said: “It makes me feel confident and that I can stand up for myself.

"I used to be bullied at school and now it is much better.”

Cery’s sister Seren is also a student at Newport MMA. The 11-year-old said she has 30 medals and that the most special one is the first one she got three years ago.

Seren said: “I have made a lot of friends doing this.”

To find out more, visit facebook.com/newportmixedmartialarts