Hayden kicking down barriers
MARTIAL ARTS: Friends, family and teachers have seen a remarkable improvement in Hayden Clement over the past two years and it all stems from leaving his comfort zone to take up kick boxing.
The Clinton State School student used to struggle socially and at school, but has come along in leaps and bounds since joining the Gladstone Martial Arts Academy.
Hayden's hard work and determination paid off recently when he fought in his first kick boxing bout at Yeppoon on May 20.
Unfortunately the result didn't go Hayden's way, but the experiences he has gained since donning the gloves has turned the 10-year-old into a fine young man.
Hayden's mother, Michelle has been so proud of how far her son has come in just a short space of time.
"It's helped him with discipline, concentration and respect of others,” Michelle said.
"He was a rowdy kid but now he's found a lot of self-control.
"He had no confidence in himself, which makes it difficult in the school yard.
"Now his confidence is up, his grades have lifted across the board, he has no problems at school and is dedicated to training six days a week, and is fit and healthy.”
Michelle said Hayden wanted to give kick boxing a go because his dad was a kick boxer.
"He did it because he didn't like team sports and his dad was a kick boxer and fighter who trains at the academy so that's where Hayden's interest comes from,” she said.
"Kick boxing has worked for him, although it's an individual sport he's made plenty friends at the academy.
"His trainers, coaches and other fighters have mentored him as well, working alongside them as role models have done great things for his personality.
"I'm absolutely proud to watch what he has done.”