Navigating wellbeing with ‘Sensei’


6th November 2023


5 min


Ben Jones

The importance of wellbeing.

In our fast-paced lives, the juggling act of work, family, and various commitments can cause us to frequently put self-care on the back burner. It’s the universal struggle of making time for ourselves and having the necessary resources and knowledge to invest in our own wellbeing.

During lockdown, like many others, I found myself gaining extra weight and feeling increasingly lethargic and unfit. But when my wellbeing allowance rolled over, I saw it as an opportunity for a lifestyle overhaul. 

I decided to make a change, and that change began with getting back in the gym. 

It’s where I reignited my passion for fitness. Plus, I’ve been playing football regularly. The result? I’ve shed those extra pounds, and I’m feeling 100% better both mentally and physically. It just goes to show the transformative power of prioritising your wellbeing!

Mental health benefits of martial arts.

In my younger years, I started with Muay Thai. I’ve also been part of the Ultra White Collar boxing charity event and dabble in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). Recently, I decided to rekindle my passion for Muay Thai, using it as a solid foundation for me to try new experiences with MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). 

Fortunately, my friend Rick is the driving force behind Sensei and an amazing teacher and coach to a fantastic martial arts community. Sensei provides a warm and inclusive environment that encourages people of all ages and skill levels to pursue their training goals. It’s a place where everyone can thrive, regardless of their starting point. 

“I’ve discovered a newfound sense of motivation and focus that’s been a game-changer in all aspects of my life.”

I’ve incorporated weekday lunchtime training sessions with a friend, and the results have been nothing short of transformative. Not only have I shed excess weight and improved my fitness levels, but the impact has extended far beyond the physical. I’ve discovered a newfound sense of motivation and focus that’s been a game-changer in all aspects of my life.

How to start martial arts.

Embarking on a martial arts journey can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience. Whether you’re drawn to the discipline of karate, the grace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the striking techniques of Muay Thai, or any other martial art, choosing the right path and approach is essential. Here are some practical tips to help you get started:

1. Follow your passion

The first and most crucial step is to choose a martial art that genuinely piques your interest. When you’re passionate about what you’re learning, you’re more likely to stay committed and motivated.

2. Find the right gym and coach

The environment and guidance you receive can make all the difference in your martial arts journey. Look for a gym with a welcoming culture and experienced coaches. Don’t hesitate to try out a few different places; many offer free trial periods, so you can find the one that feels like the right fit.

3. Don’t break the bank on equipment

While it’s tempting to invest in top-of-the-line gear, remember that you don’t need the same equipment as the world’s best fighters when you’re just starting. Begin with the essentials, and as you progress, you can gradually expand your kit.

4. Embrace your own pace

Everyone learns and progresses at their own speed. Avoid comparing yourself to others, especially more experienced practitioners. Focus on your own development, and trust that you’ll improve with dedication and practice.

5. Set small, achievable goals

Setting specific, realistic goals is a powerful motivator. Start with small milestones that you can reach in the short term. When you achieve them, celebrate your successes; this will keep you motivated and excited about your progress.

Remember, your martial arts journey is a personal one. It’s about growth, self-discovery, and continuous improvement. So, follow your heart, find the right place to train, and approach your practice with patience and determination. Your path to martial arts mastery is uniquely yours, and it’s an adventure worth embracing.

Wellbeing in the workplace.

Wellbeing significantly enhances my activities outside of work by providing increased energy, mental resilience, improved focus, and creativity. All of which support my personal pursuits. It contributes to better interpersonal relationships, quality rest, and stress reduction, ensuring I can fully engage in leisure activities with loved ones. 

“Ultimately, prioritising wellbeing serves as the foundation for a more enriching and purpose-driven life beyond the workplace.”

Moreover, wellbeing aids time management, allowing for a balanced allocation of time between career and personal life. Plus, it instils a greater sense of purpose, motivating me to pursue fulfilling interests and experiences. Ultimately, prioritising wellbeing serves as the foundation for a more enriching and purpose-driven life beyond the workplace.

To support mixed martial arts in the North East and beyond, hedgehog lab is sponsoring CW 164 on Saturday, 25th November. 

Many MMA stars have made their names under the Cage Warriors banner, including Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, Paddy Pimblett, Gegard Mousasi, Antônio Silva, Jeff Monson, Martin Kampmann, Dan Hardy, Joe Duffy, Cathal Pendred, Neil Seery, and Dennis Siver. CW are one of the few top promotions to take their events abroad, travelling throughout countries in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

hedgehog lab’s annual personal wellbeing budget and time off means that our team are encouraged to explore ways to relax, recharge and reset. How we choose to use our wellbeing budget is often shared on our dedicated Slack channel to help inspire others. Interested in joining our team? Have a look at our open vacancies.