Keith Collyer's Journey
Keith Collyer is a Physical Empowerment CIC coach and plays an active role in creating the physical side of the programmes for Physical Empowerment. Keith is Director of Vigilance Self Protection Ltd and The Self Defence Centre CIC. He teaches a variety of self-defence systems and martial arts at his own gym; Crawley Combat Academy. Read more about how he got here below...
When I was very young we moved to Australia. I was bullied for being the only English kid in school. My mother couldn’t stand the heat so we moved back to South London, where I was born and raised.
It was the late 1970’s, in a major recession. Life was tough. My father found part time work and we lived in a guest house for a year until being moved to a large council estate in Brixton. I had to fight for money, if I won I got paid, if I lost I got nothing. I soon became street smart. It was survival!
We moved around a few times and settled in Crawley. I hadn’t been to school since Australia. After a period of home schooling, I enrolled at Thomas Bennett school. The bullying continued, I stood my ground and eventually they left me alone.
After leaving school I joined the Royal Marine cadets, I was ready to sign up full time but my father, a second world war veteran, asked me not too. Out of respect I followed his wishes. I played American Football for Crawley Raiders for 3 years. Something I really enjoyed and enforced precious life skills.
My father died suddenly from a heart attack. It was a shock to my system and I took the opportunity to reflect on what I had lived through up to that point. This reflection led to Martial arts. I was impressed by the instructor’s speed and grace. I was hooked. I joined my local Wing Chun class in Crawley.
I have been training Wing Chun for over 20 years. I am a 5th PG degree Black Sash and teaching in Crawley.
I found Krav Maga after researching defending weapon assaults. After attending some weekend bootcamps, I signed up for an instructor’s course. It was brutal. Mentally and physically. It taught me a different approach and mindset. I became an instructor and after some time set up CROSS KRAV MAGA ACADEMY. This training has opened opportunities of teaching Knife assault defence in the United States with NLB (No Lie Blades), self-defence training for HERT (Hostile Environment Response Training), police officers, close protection officers and door supervisors.
I am a full-time instructor and I love what I do. I help people gain confidence, overcome fears, gain skills, help people to become fitter and stronger, how to protect themselves and their loved ones and I have built a supportive community.
My next project is to form a Community Interest Company (CIC) so I can help people with disabilities and mental health train in martial arts, meditation and general wellbeing.
My interests are Motorcycles, 1950s music and culture, History and visiting Spain where I hope to retire someday.