The first week back for the Little Dragons pre-school and after-school clubs have been well-attended with some waiting lists due to popularity – keep an eye out for our new company brochure due imminently!








We’d like to congratulate our Managing Director Richard, who took part in the national England trials a few weeks ago in Birmingham. Richard was selected for Team England for the K1 World Championships. They will be held in Athens in the summer. We would like to wish Richard all the very best of luck and bring home the gold medal….

Double Olympian Sophie Cox working with Managing Director Richard, demonstrating Richard’s philosophy on on the Little Dragons hybrid syllabus and variations on a hip throw.

 Pictures: Damian Trainor (top) – Double World Muay Thai Champion & Double European Muay Thai Champion.

Sophie Cox (middle-top) – Double Olympian, 7 times British Judo Champion, Bronze Commonwealth Medalist, Double European Silver Medalist.

Julie Kitchen (bottom-middle) – 14 times World Muay Thai Champion.

Remy (bottom) – Muay Thai Boxer


Our Feedback.

4th Dan in Freestyle Martial Arts and COBRA instructor Dan Powell:

I feel the concept of this programme (the little dragons) is excellent. I think getting martial arts into schools is crucial, and gives the children discipline, integrity, honesty and creativity… It also helps more introvert children come out of there shell and helps tone down more rowdy ones. The instructors are great and clearly know what they are doing.
Although I struggled to adapt my style, that is a personal battle for myself as opposed to anything else, and I had full support from Richard from start to finish.

Kind Regards,

D. Powell 4th Dan


Two-times Team GB Olympian Sophie Cox gives her view on The Education Programme’s leader, Richard Kirkham.

‘Richard is a very experienced martial artist whose personal philosophical values reflect and encompass what the ancient martial arts are aimed at, namely sound body and mind. He is able to demonstrate expertise in his own personal training and teaching whilst being open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Richard has helped open my eyes to other martial arts such as Kung Fu and Wing Chun and is a pleasure to work with.’

Team GB Olympian 2004 & 2012 
Double Olympian and 7 times British Champion
Commonwealth Bronze Medalist
Double European Silver Medalist
2017 Athlete Mentor – Sky Sports Living for Sport
Athlete Mentor Youth Sport Trust
Athlete mentor – DKH Legacy Trust
Sporting Champions – Athlete role model

Gold European Champion Omar Shamot’s testimonial for Richard Kirkham:

I have been training with Richard Kirkham for around 8 years now, and during this time I have learnt a great deal, not only about the art of fighting but also about the disciplines behind it.
Richard is not just trained in one martial art but several – he taught me Kickboxing, Kung Fu, etc. .. even things like meditation. Richards’s abilities at teaching made me a much better martial artist and even a more upstanding citizen.
Martial arts helped me to channel energy into other matters, and this is all thanks to Richard.
Training with Richard has got me to many of my championship medals I own today, and it’s all thanks to him. He is a superb teacher, one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to train with.
Any new students that are thinking of training with Richard should grasp the opportunity, and indulge in his Philosophies and ways of teaching.
Believe me it will only be of benefit to you!

Gold European Champion
Silver World Championships
Bronze National Championships

Taekwondo Instructor for EPL, Gemma Unsworth:

The Little Dragons Programme, as created by Richard Kirkham of EPL, is an effective and fun martial arts programme for children. As a black belt (1st Dan) myself, I have been extremely impressed by the thorough teaching of martial arts principles and techniques, and the advantages provided by this particular martial arts syllabus through the fusion and potent utilisation of elements from various martial arts disciplines, ranging from karate to kung-fu, judo to jiu-jitsu and much more. 

As a fully qualified primary school teacher, I have further been impressed with the cross curricular knowledge and skills that this syllabus has been created to impart. The martial arts principles and way of life link well to many P.S.H.E and global citizenship skills. Children’s awareness of and interest in world history and geographical knowledge is raised and ignited through the teachings of the roots of the various martial arts forms. Furthermore, children enjoy exposure to and learning the languages relevant for each form, including Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean. 

As a new instructor joining EPL I benefit from receipt of regular 1:1 training sessions and supportive assessment of Martial Arts techniques and my own teaching, by Richard Kirkham, a fantastic instructor with 40 years experience of Martial Arts. Through this company, I have also had the opportunity to meet and train with the Olympic medal winning Sophie Cox, and feel constantly encouraged and supported by the team of professionals at EPL. 

As I continue my journey with EPL, I have no doubt that the company will grow from strength to strength due to the thirst for knowledge, love of learning and teaching, open-mindedness, positivity, passion and professionalism of the company, it’s director and employees. 

Gemma Unsworth
1st Dan Black Belt – Taekwondo

Steven Henshall, Current head MMA coach at back2basics gym:

I am excited to be a part of the little dragons programme. I believe developing children’s knowledge in martial arts from a young age benefits them in all aspects of life now and in their future, from respect to discipline, the little dragons program has a dedicated team behind it to make sure the children get the very best from their experience.

Steven’s Experience:
5 years Mma training
Brazilian jujitsu blue belt
Ex Head coach of Spartan predators Mma in Middleton for 1 and a half years
Current head Mma coach at back2basics gym
Current Mma coach at full contact performance centre Rochdale

Steven’s Achievements:
5-1 Semi professional Mma record (5-0 at middleweight)
Full contact contender middleweight British champion
Rage in the cage middleweight British champion
Sub North NO GI grappling comp winner

Richard Kirkham and the Education Programme Ltd delivered an exciting and engaging martial arts day to the children in our Summer school and those participating in our transition week. The children ranged from 5 – 15 and all thoroughly enjoyed the activities and were introduced to a wide range of martial arts and the cultural aspects surrounding these.

We found Richard and to be very professional ensuring everyone remained safe whilst having fun and learning new skills, his approach was both engaging and active, encouraging and motivating the children throughout most of whom were new to the activities, some of the children have since expressed an interest in taking up martial arts outside of school.

Emma Mooney
Acting Games Manager