The Poet With A Punch Delivers a Knock-Out at #TeamKC 21/01/2020

ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES

To banish those #BlueMonday feels, #TeamKC played host to “The Poet With A Punch” aka Matt Windle, who not only was Birmingham’s poet laureate from 2016 to 2018, but is a title holding boxer as well!  We invited Matt to run a series of his infamous Poetry with Punch sessions for our students, and it went down a storm!

LOOKING AFTER NUMBER ONE

Mental health and a healthy lifestyle is a huge talking point currently, and rightly so, with so much going on around us, so much happening on social media and the news, so many people’s opinions being screamed and shouted, it can be hard to make yourself heard, to look after yourself and to hone in on exactly what you want from life.

Our social world is also full of so much judgement, negative emotional outlets and comparison so making sure you’re confident enough to just do you is a big part of what #TeamKC tries to help with

THE POET WITH A PUNCH

BOXERCISE X CREATIVE WRITING

Utilising boxercise, creative writing and other forms of art, Matt’s goal is to engage body and mind as one entity, instead of two different units. Designed to entice as well as inspire, participants gain confidence, self-worth and break stereotypes and it’s also a huge amount of fun!

Our English & Maths students got treated to the first session this morning; Matt challenged the students to find rhyming words; then create a short poem around it using their own person style. He then put them through their paces with a boxercise class to get those endorphins going!

IT’S ALL IN THE MIX

As a qualified ABA England boxing coach, Matt attempts to mix the unusual blend of boxing and poetry to break stereotypes and to prove that people can be as diverse and unique as they want to be. This is an essential skill in today’s modern age, with social media and peer pressure sometimes leading people to make the wrong decisions and feel like they cannot be themselves.

CHALLENGING PRECONCEPTIONS

“When people discover that I am also a poet, they are surprised that I don’t match the usual ‘type’ of what a poet ‘should’ be and I am often surprised to how many people then open up to me and admit to being a ‘secret’ writer.

ALL THE PROS

The benefits of Poet with a Punch boxercise sessions are:

  • It teaches respect and discipline
  • Self-defence
  • Helps to build confidence
  • Encourages healthy eating
  • Improves fitness
  • Teaches that boxing is an art form, the same way that poetry is an art form
  • The rhythm, timing and beats used in poetry and boxing are the same
  • There’s a juxtaposition between poetry an boxing where two contrasting art forms can in fact share similar qualities

The benefits of Poetry With Punch workshops:

  • Confidence building
  • Cooperation and teamwork skills
  • Breaking stereotypes (as does the boxercise)
  • Encourages performance
  • Improvement of writing ability
  • Giving young people an outlet and a voice
  • Enhancing vocabulary and rhyming skills
  • Having fun with English, words & poetry!!

KC INTERVIEW

We caught up with Matt before his afternoon session:-

Hi Matt, can you summarise what you do?

I do spoken word poetry which encourages young people to be creative and have a voice…I’m also a professional boxer, so it’s quite the combination!

What are the highlights of what you do; combing poetry and boxing?

I love what I do, it allows me provide the tools to those who are struggling in education and to have a voice and help them express their emotions in a positive light.

I firmly believe in working hard to gain the things that you want, so I always want to promote the positive effects of hard-work in my classes.

How did you get into it?

I was excluded from school, so the things I got into trouble for inspired me to take up poetry and channel my feelings into boxing. My English teacher actually encouraged me to enter the Young Poetry Laureate competition, which I won! I was the first guy in the country to do so!

How have you found #TeamKC?

The students at KC have been really good. They’ve responded so positively to my sessions, taking a lot from both the boxercise and creative poetry; I really hope that I’ve inspired them! It’s not about being the best writer, it’s about being given the freedom to be creative. I want them to pursue their passions regardless of how trendy they think it may be!

INSPIRED?

So whether you want to be a bricklayer, a footballer, a youtuber, a police officer, a social media marketer, poetry is something you should get into, it can be done as a past-time or, if you put yourself out there and take a chance, it might be something you can do full time!

I want to help people see that poetry can be for everybody whether it’s writing prose, performing on stage or simply sending a text or tweet. We all create poetry every day and that should be celebrated!

Matt Windle

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