SELKIRK Scout Hall normally echoes to the sounds of youngsters having fun while learning new skills but for the past year the hall in Dunsdale Road has also been playing host to a group of dedicated martial artists following in the footsteps of kung fu legend Bruce Lee.
It is all thanks to Neil Paterson, from Hawick, who makes the weekly trek from his home to pass on the ancient skills of Wing Chun kung fu.
For over a decade, Neil has been practising and teaching Wing Chun, the style of Chinese kung fu which set Bruce Lee on the path to big screen fame and legendary status.
Wing Chun Kung Fu is believed to be the only martial art to have been founded by a woman, the Shaolin abbess Ng Mui, in the 17th century.
It is a style of kung fu which has already proved popular in the region, with several other regular classes in various locations.
With a small growing band of enthusiastic students, including those from Selkirk, Hawick and Jedburgh, Neil, a 30-year veteran of the martial arts, started his new club just over a year ago.
He says he opted for Selkirk being as it is part way between the region’s two biggest towns of Hawick and Galashiels.
With good transport links, Selkirk is proving an ideal central teaching hub for this latest blossoming of an ancient style of kung fu.
Running under the banner of Selkirk Wing Chun, Neil’s classes run every Wednesday, from 7 to 9pm in the Scout Hall.
Asked why people should try his Wing Chun class, Neil explained: “The Wing Chun system was designed to be learned quickly and be effective against larger opponents.
“It is based on a number of principles, including simplicity, directness and not relying on strength.
“Students develop increased confidence and improved fitness through regular training.
“Selkirk Wing Chun offers instruction to anyone, men and women, aged 16 or over and we pride ourselves on our classes being run in a friendly and welcoming manner. And it be great to see more folk coming along.”
Neil explained that martial arts such as Wing Chun are not just about learning to defend oneself - they all teach self-discipline, self-respect and build confidence.
“Ultimately, the deeper, hidden meaning of what martial arts are about is a journey of self discovery,” he added.
•More details about Selkirk Wing Chun from Neil on 07770121135 or the club’s Facebook page.