BLACK Country martial arts instructor Rob Lock is leaving his Lye academy behind but aims to continue packing a punch in 2013 by taking his classes out to the community.

Rob, who made his TV stunt debut in BBC spy drama Hunted towards the end of last year, opened Rob Lock’s Academy in Dudley Road 13 years ago and during its heyday it became one of the biggest gyms of its kind in the country.

But as a result of high overhead cost increases at the academy on the Cridden Estate, he has decided to go back to his roots and take his classes to venues across the borough from February 1.

He said: “After 13 happy years at our current premises we no longer feel the building will be suitable for the exciting plans we have for the future.

“Our promise has always been to ensure we are delivering the best possible training that’s also great value for money.

“With substantial overhead cost increases linked to our current premises we no longer feel we can deliver on this promise and believe the only way forward is to move.

“We also appreciate the current economic climate is difficult for a lot of people and don’t think it’s fair to push big price increases onto our students for the same service.

“After months of research we have secured three new locations - and they are all within a few miles of the current academy in Lye.”

To kickstart things - Rob has teamed up with long-time pal and top UK stunt co-ordinator Andy Norman, co-founder of the Keysi Fighting Method, and will be running Norman’s new Defence Lab classes at Lutley Community Centre and Haden Hill Leisure Centre in Halesowen.

The new fighting method has been devised by Norman, from Yorkshire, following his split with Justo Dieguez, founder of KFM - which has been the martial art of choice for fight scenes in blockbuster movies including the Batman trilogy with Christian Bale.

Rob, aged 52, from Stourton, said: “Defence Lab will be replacing our Keysi Fighting Method classes and it’s guaranteed to give students the knowledge and skills for real life defence situations.”

Rob’s other karate, MMA and Thai boxing classes will be held at venues around the borough including Stourbridge’s Crystal Leisure Centre and the Brier School in Kingswinford.

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