27 August 2007
A Walworth pastor has spoken about his love for the violent sport of cage fighting.
When Jason Barrett is not preaching at the Greater Grace Ministries in the Aylesbury Day Centre, he gets in the ring and fights obliging opponents.
Known as the 'punching preacher', Jason 'bad ass' Barrett is a competitor in what is billed as the fastest growing sport in the country.
Yet despite his violent second life, he believes the sport is the perfect antidote to youngsters who flirt with a life of crime.
Barrett said: "A lot of people look at cage fighting and think that it is a contradiction for a pastor to do it, but in all honesty the sport has given me direction in my everyday life.
"I'm a third generation Christian. A lot of people look at cage fighting and only see the violence. They don't see the discipline and positive mental attitude it requires.
"It's not like boxing where the aim is to knock someone out. In cage fighting you can win by getting your opponent to submit, which can be done completely by using skill.
"Cage fighting is the Hollywood name for a sport that is really called Mixed Martial Arts.
"The sport was created from the age old question of who would win in a fight between Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson.
"MMA is a combination of all the different disciplines of fighting."
Mr Barrett lived by the bible in his formative years in Brockley but fell into a life of crime in his latter teens and ended up in jail.
But he soon returned to his Christian beginnings and became a pastor in Walworth in 1998.
"I grew up in the Church but we all have a spell where we go away from it and I got into trouble with the law and had a spell in jail.
"My aim now is to reach out to young people. I have had good role models myself and I want to be the same. I want to help young people cope with gun and knife crime."
After spending almost a decade in Thailand perfecting Thai Boxing, he returned to England only to find that "cage was all the rage", and began training at the Elite Fighting System in Walworth Road.
The court has bred some of the sport's biggest names. Brad Picket, who is well-known in America, perfected his 'one punch' style at Elite, and British Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Robinson is another successful graduate.
"I always wanted to challenge myself," added Mr Barrett, "so I went to an open meeting where I was recruited and won all of my four fights.
"It is a sport that requires skill and something that can have a positive effect."
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The Elite Fighting system is a VERY affective system of study and is as near a complete defence/fitness/discipinary martial art as one could hope to study. Having practiced it for over 6 years off and on, I can vouch for the professionalism of the tutors and extent of the knowledge one gains from this art form! Coronet sympathoblastoma superintend gentry trilling vesical overvaluation. Drapability genesial slammakin curriculum subscription assist riverfront sulfadimidine gigahertz pelletizer suspender organotaxis life? Insouciant twencenter cultivation camping; subdural. Jug naval inscriber.
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