A martial arts instructor believes learning fighting skills could help stop teenagers getting into trouble - but that he is not sure it could prevent knife crime.

Jason Man, who teaches at the Bushin East London mixed martial arts club in Harold Hill, was reacting to a government report recommending that sports such as boxing could help reduce the rising levels of knife crime in the UK.

The recent fatal stabbing of a young student in a park in Harold Hill led to public outcry and calls from the local community for more to be done to prevent further attacks.

Damian Collins, chairman of The Commons digital, cultural media and sport committee said of the wave of knife crime nationally: “We cannot break the debilitating cycle of gang violence and knife crime just by arresting those who commit offences.”

Mr Man, who has 13 years of experience teaching young people, believes martial arts can help teenagers become better people and less likely to get involved in anti-social behaviour?

He said: “I think it can play a big part. As the old idea goes, martial arts are great for teaching discipline and respect, and we definitely see it in our class.

"One of the most rewarding things to have seen is watching our younger members grow in confidence as well as watching them help each other out as well as trying hard in every class. Everyone gets along and it’s amazing to watch them develop.”

But he is more reserved about whether martial arts can tackle knife crime.

He said: “Idealistically I would love to say 'Yes, my class/martial arts in general' will help prevent knife crime. But in reality, the issue is so much more complex than that with so many different factors affecting it.

"What I would say is that my class gives people an opportunity to go somewhere to learn some new skills, defend themselves if they ever find themselves in such a situation, relieve stress, socialise, gain discipline and confidence.

“If providing that helps prevent knife crime, it is a huge bonus.”

I asked what he thought of the report’s recommendations that sports and cultural activities can help with problems in the community.

He added: “I think it is a great idea. We do need more places for teenagers to go to be able to let steam off as well as get some physical energy out, whether it is in martial arts or like the old youth clubs that we used to be able to go to."

If you are interested in the martial arts, self defence or simply getting fit and having fun, you can contact Jason at jason@bushin.co.uk , or on 07706 519 317.