THE VOICE OF YOUTH: MADE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE BY YOUNG PEOPLE
Born in Brixton in 2001, LIVE Magazine is one of the most pioneering, progressive and successful initiatives aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK. Created and controlled entirely by 12-21 year-old volunteers with the support and guidance of professional journalism, photography, illustration and design mentors, LIVE features hard-hitting articles about sex, drugs, gun and knife crime, careers, refugees, religion, racism, health and homelessness alongside the best in fashion, music, film, books, sport and art.
20,000 copies of LIVE Magazine are distributed free to teenagers and young adults across London four times a year and as many as 150 young people from a range of backgrounds, from college students to young offenders, contribute to each issue gaining valuable skills, experiences, contacts and qualifications in the process.
Live Futures, the non-profit company that publishes LIVE, is sustained by some public funding as well as youth co-created projects for clients including BBC Three, the Department for International Development, Penguin Books, Storm, South Bank, USC and Diesel. In May 2009, the LIVE Magazine website was re-launched as a multi-media youth portal enabling young people from across the country to contribute to LIVE Online, add their opinions to the national youth voice and benefit from online mentoring and e-learning.
Live Magasine interviewed Flavell Flave, the interview is below.
Matt Flavell set up Boxing Evolution as a way of harnessing the power of martial arts. Live’s Therryi Brown found out what he’s got to say about discipline, survival and never giving up.
How long have you been boxing for and what made you get into boxing and martial arts?
I have been into martial arts since I can remember. I got into boxing when I was 17 in a bid to help sort my life out after I had started getting in fights and using drugs. After I tried boxing once I was hooked, it turned out to be the best drug I had ever done.
When did you realise you can make a difference through boxing?
When I first started boxing, I noticed how people who consider themselves to be a ‘badman’ were very quiet in the boxing gym. I hope to use boxing to teach people what having guts really means, and how picking on people weaker is cowardice. Likewise stabbing someone or shooting someone requires no guts, just simply a lack of care about where your life is heading. It doesn’t make you a badman. I realised that the combination of the boxing gym environment and using the right kind of people would create the set of circumstances required to work with young people involved in gang, gun and knife crime because necessary mutual respect would be there.
What struggles have you overcome since starting ‘Boxing Evolution’?
The major struggle I faced was actually trying to get Boxing Evolution up and running it in the first place. I have encountered problems to do with the fact that I have a criminal record. I was close to starting boxing sessions at my old school, to only be told by the council at the last minute that they were not happy with me teaching the kids due to some of the violence related convictions I had from my younger years. The important thing was that I never gave up.
How does boxing change an individual’s mindset?
The mindset of someone who does boxing is changed in an incredible number of ways. I think the most important thing that is developed through boxing is discipline. Discipline is what makes you do something you might not necessarily want to do because you know it is in your best interest to do so. Another crucial thing that is developed is courage and confidence. Through boxing you learn to face your fears rather than run away. As Cus D’Amato, Mike Tyson’s’ legendary coach often said to Mike “Heroes and cowards feel exactly the same fear. Heroes just react to it differently.” Boxing also involves having to learn how to deal with an incredible amount of fear.
Being a teacher of survival and warrior mind frame; what does survival mean to you?
To me survival consists of two things, doing your best to not be in a dangerous situation and how you handle yourself when in a dangerous situation. Survivors often survive because they quite literally refuse to die. They do not freeze up through fear or lose control; they just get on with whatever it is that needs to be done to survive. They take survival into their own hands.
What survival advice could you give to young people?
Simply to make an effort to educate yourself about the potential risks and dangers you may face in your environment and make sure you develop the skills and ability necessary to stand the best chance of survival should a dangerous situation occur. You never know when you may need it.