David Cameron got it all wrong. Instead of hugging hoodies, we should be shaving their heads and teaching them to chop bricks in half with their hands. Billed as a meeting place between ‘kung fu and hardcore street culture’, this new series is centred around Matthew Ahmet – a man who left behind his troubled life in the UK at 16 to train in a Shaolin monastery in China.
He’s on a mission (who isn’t these days?) to give other youngsters the same chance he had, taking three kids each week out to Hong Kong to train in martial arts. As you’d probably expect, it’s handled with little subtlety. Before the first ad break, Ahmet is filmed walking around estates in lurid orange monk robes while his kung fu colleagues wave (hopefully replica) swords around. It suggests the only way to traverse such places safely is with a two-foot blade in hand.
Its heart is in the right place: the subjects learn restraint and confidence as part of their training. Yet there is something rather disturbing about watching a whole of hour of so-called ‘problem youngsters’ being whacked, hit, kicked and more by professional kung-fu experts.