A MARTIAL arts club has finally found a home to call its own.

Evade Cheshire, Middlewich’s only full-time martial arts club, is ready to move into a unit at Sherriff House on Nantwich Road.

The club was founded five years ago by Martin McDonnell, who admits it hasn’t been an easy journey to get to this point.

“Having our own full-time unit is so gratifying, this was always my goal” he said.

“At one point I thought it was never going to happen, behind the scenes I'd been rejected from thirteen places that initially showed interest in us taking over their units - twice I had a contract in hand, for it then to be taken away days before being signed!”

Northwich Guardian: Martin said he was inspired to keep going by his girlfriend, Natasche HancockMartin said he was inspired to keep going by his girlfriend, Natasche Hancock (Image: Martin McDonnell)

Martin said it was the support of his girlfriend, Natasche Hancock, that pushed him to keep going.

He added: “She has a business of her own (TK Beauty Retreat and Training Academy) and faced similar hardships but never gave up.

“Her drive to keep going for her clients inspired me to do the same, they have shown us massive support over the years.

“For us to finally have our own place, feels like I can finally start repaying everyone for their support for the past five years - it's such a great feeling that I can't explain.”

Martin, 33, got into martial arts when he was just 10 years old, joining Evade Blackbelt School in Glossop.

“I was a very nervous and shy child and didn't want to attend until one of my friends who was being bullied at school joined up. A couple of months in, we were addicted!” he said.

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Northwich Guardian: Martin picked up the keys this week and is hoping to be up and runnig by mid-NovemberMartin picked up the keys this week and is hoping to be up and runnig by mid-November (Image: Martin McDonnell)

When he turned 18, Martin helped help Evade launch its second club, in Mossley.

Around five years ago, he moved to Cheshire and set up the Middlewich club, using venues such as the Wych Centre and 2nd Middlewich Scouts’ hut.

Martin, who now lives in Winsford, said: “I always liked the idea of having my own school and being able to help people with the high level of training I'd been used to receiving as a member for most of my life!

“My inspiration for this career has always been to help as many people as possible with the positive effects martial arts provides.”

In 2020 Covid hit, and the club had to cease its physical meetings.

However, when they returned Martin noticed a spike in interest, which came as little surprise to him.

He said: “Post-Covid we had a surge of members who wanted to join us because of our high standard of coaching and because people realised the value of keeping fit and healthy.

“I always expected to grow a large club in Middlewich but knew it wouldn't be an easy task!

“Creating a community like this takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes and commitment from the members!

“We've cultivated such a great community that it is infectious, every member and every parent is key to the running and growing of the club and each person who is a part of our family is highly valued!”

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Northwich Guardian: Evade's fight team has this year started competing in the Muay Thai sceneEvade's fight team has this year started competing in the Muay Thai scene (Image: Martin McDonnell)

By moving into its own unit, the club’s timetable will expand, offering new daytime classes and one-to-one sessions.

They will also be able to purchase more training equipment, which until now Martin has been having to store in his car, and hope one day to install a boxing ring.

The club should be up and running at its new home by mid-November, with more equipment expected to arrive over the coming months.