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Lauren 1

Kickboxing world champion Lauren targeting a police career with help of York College

Lauren Greenwood is used to laying down the law as a world champion kickboxer and she is hoping York College can help her forge a future career with the Police Force.

The Level 3 Uniformed Protective Services second-year student has just returned from winning gold at Orlando in the United States, adding to the two titles she won at last year’s World Championships in Ireland.

Lauren, who is also a multiple national champion, defeated Canadian and American opponents in the 15 to 17-Years-Old Under-60kg Continuous Fighting category.

Her victory was all the more impressive as she achieved it in front of a partisan home crowd.

“I was a bit on edge fighting against an American because the shouting from the home crowd was so loud,” Lauren admitted. “So, to win the final and become a three-time world champion, was a massive moment for me.”

Appropriately, an ability to remain calm in stressful situations is listed as one of the required skills for a role with the Police by the National Careers Service.

The two-year UPS course is designed to offer a route for Further Education students into the uniformed protective services industry and Lauren believes it is providing her with the perfect stepping stone towards fulfilling her vocational aspirations.

Lauren won gold in the 15 to 17-Years-Old Under-60kg Continuous Fighting category

“The UPS course does involve fitness, which I’m obviously very in to, but you also learn about the law, the Government and what’s going on in the outside world,” she pointed out. “My Mum always said that I would be a good police officer, because I’m quite feisty, very honest and straight to the point.

“I wouldn’t say I’m really confident, but I’m also confident enough to be open and speak to anyone, which is quite good for the Police. I always thought, however, that it would mean being a bobbie on the street, which I didn’t want to be but, when I looked more into law enforcement and came to the College Open Event, I realised there was so much more that you can do in the Police.

“I’m looking more at the detective side of work now. I love watching all the crime documentaries.

“Last year, we did criminology and psychology and, whilst I found secondary school tough, I’m now doing something that I enjoy doing, which is a big difference. I never wanted to go to uni either so, coming to College and doing quite a big course, I knew it would be tricky and that I’d have my ups and downs, but I get the equivalent of three A Levels out of it and the criminology and psychology so I don’t need to go to uni to become a detective.

“It will also save me so much money and time, because uni isn’t cheap these days.”

Lauren had to beat American and Canadian opponents to finish top of the podium

Despite her trip across the Atlantic requiring Lauren to partly be away from College during term time, support from her tutors meant that she did not fall behind on her work while pursuing sporting honours on the world stage.

Earlier this year, College gained TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) Dual Career Accredited Site status in recognition of our provision of additional, bespoke learning support for any student who is a high-performing sporting athlete and Lauren was offered access to lessons remotely over Microsoft Teams whilst in America and given two-week extensions on assignments following her return to these shores.

She will now be looking to defend her national title during March – a competition she will train for at X Martial Arts School in Acomb, where she can be found enjoying sessions of an hour or longer on an almost daily basis.

Lauren is also hoping to compete as a senior fighter in next year’s World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

She first joined her current club at the age of eight and admits that the sport has provided her with body confidence, a respectful personality and a psychological release at key times in her life.

Lauren does fitness sessions in the York College & University Centre Athletic Suite as part of her UPS course

On her reasons for taking up kickboxing, Lauren said: “I first started nine years ago. I really struggled with my weight when I was younger and I used to just put it down to natural chubbiness as a child, but my Mum wanted me to get into a sport.

“I tried football and this, that and the other, but I just couldn’t get into anything. Then, my sister’s boyfriend at the time had just joined a club to be an instructor and it was suggested that I go along with him.

“He was the main instructor and, because he was my sister’s boyfriend, I felt a bit of pressure to stick at it but, then, I found I couldn’t keep away. I also began to realise that, when I was going through mental-health problems, I was going to kickboxing. When I was going though problems at school, I was going to kickboxing and, when I was going through problems at home, I was going to kickboxing.

“It was my help. If you’ve had a rubbish day, punching and kicking some pads does get that out of you a bit.

“I then also got into my running, fitness and started losing weight and feeling better about myself. So, it’s not just about the actual sport – kickboxing has done so much for me personally and I’ve learned a lot about respect, too, through it.

“You bow to everybody – the mats, the coach, the ref and your opponent and it has made me a more mature person. The sport has also given me the belief and mentality that you can accomplish stuff if you keep on doing it.

“I almost live at the club, but I just love it because it’s such a good environment. It’s given me a confidence boost, as has seeing the changes in my body and I love kicking - it’s a skill that you just want to show off.

“I love running but, if I did it every day, I’d get bored of it. I can’t stand doing weights either but, with my martial arts, there are so many different punches and kicks you can do. It never gets boring.”

Lauren beat her American opponent in front of a partisan Orlando crowd to clinch a third world title

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