Sisters Stun At Martial Arts Open Day
Wednesday 21st September 2016 @ 09:52 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Sports

Two fitness enthusiasts are punching the air in delight after opening their very own martial arts centre in Denton on Saturday.

Following years of teaching at various locations in Denton, sisters Helen and Joanne Fairclough officially unveiled their new home, dubbed ‘Kijo Elite’, which is situated in Heaton Mill on Catherine Street.

The pair were joined at the opening by a number of local dignitaries and members of the public, including Cllr Brenda Warrington and MP for Denton and Reddish, Andrew Gwynne.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne on the receiving end of a kick from Joanne.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne on the receiving end of a kick from Joanne.

Having lived in the town for more than 40 years, Helen and Joanne couldn’t wish for a better place to continue their journey. Speaking to Reporter Sport, Joanne, who started kickboxing with her sister in 2003, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have our own venue to teach from, especially given the fact that it’s in our home town of more than 40 years.

“We’ve worked closely with Brenda and Andrew for a number of years, so it was nice to see them cut the ribbon on the afternoon.

“Ultimately, we’re proud to be members of the Elite International Martial Arts Association. It feels great that we’ll be able to give back to the community that we grew up in.”

Equipped with 16 years of experience in the fitness industry, both Helen and Joanne will provide the community with a range of classes throughout the week, which range from ladies only kickboxing to circuit training.

There will also be a children’s kickboxing class, as well as a mixed class for adults.

Kijo Elite caters for a range of ages, including children, as seen at the opening day on Saturday.

Kijo Elite caters for a range of ages, including children, as seen at the opening day on Saturday.

However, Helen and Joanne are proud to introduce their newest class which caters for 2-5 year olds. Joanne explained: “Our newest class is the Kijo Kubz which is martial arts based soft play.

“It’s proving to be very popular as it helps with the key skills balance, coordination, and confidence which every child needs.

“We’re able to offer this in line with the EYFS guidelines due to Helen working in this environment, so we’re fully qualified with this age group.”

Open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Kijo Elite provides members of the public with a state-of-the-art facility and top class coaching.

Having started kickboxing in 2003, both Helen and Joanne have worked through their belts together.

Working tirelessly for years, the pair achieved their 3rd Dan Black Belts in 2012 and are due to receive their fourth this year.

And in a bid to share their knowledge of all things kickboxing, the duo established their own club shortly after. Joanne said: “When we completed our 3rd Black Belt grading we decided to set up Kijo, our own club, so we could pass on our knowledge and experience to others.

“We qualified as level 1 instructors and went from there really.”

In April 2013, the pair decided to teach adult classes for one night a week.

However, this soon moved to two nights, and shortly after, three. Joanne added: “In a bid to widen our student base, we decided to start a children’s class in December 2013 at Dane Bank Library.

“The move benefitted both us and the library as it’s a registered charity.”

In a bid to gain more experience and knowledge, Helen decided to learn and grade in FMA, while Joanne took part in competitions. “Following our 3rd black belt in kickboxing, Helen started to learn and Grade in FMA which is a freestyle martial art” said Joanne.

“I started to fight in competition and won the CMAA Ladies full contact British title in 2014.

“I also fought in the WOMAA World Championships held in Cardiff in 2015 where I received a silver medal in the ladies Black Belt division.”

Joanne now channels her time and energy into her own fight team, as well as teaching light contact fighting to her younger students who start at six years old.

Regularly entered into competitions, the fighters tend to bring home gold, silver and bronze medals.

Those interested in joining classes can find more information on the following website: