TWO young adults with additional support needs who have been benefitting from unique martial arts training recently had the chance to test themselves in the ring.

Ayden McCabe, 20, and Lewis McDermid, 18, both attend the N-Courage gym in Alloa where they are training under the guidance of John Miller.

John's other venture, IKMS, recently held a brilliant fight night in Menstrie to help raise funds from talented youngsters who were travelling to Thailand for an international competition, currently underway.

Ayden had been keen to test himself in the ring while Lewis already appeared at a competition before and the local fight night was the perfect opportunity, with the audience asked not to clap or cheer.

John said ahead of the fight: "The referee has obviously been briefed on their additional support needs and Luca [Allison] and I will corner them and we'll probably we in the ring with them.

"Physically, there is no reason at all why they should not be getting in the ring."

N-Courage hopes to develop life skills through martial arts training, mainly working with people with an autism spectrum disorder.

Ayden's mum Debbie said that training has helped her son with social isolation while building his confidence.

She added: "It helps with his anger management as well.

"There's a big difference, he doesn't get as nervous talking to people."

Lewis featured in the Advertiser last year when he earned plaudits at the Scottish Learning Disability Awards.

His mum Tracey explained how her son, who is autistic with communication and learning difficulties, has also been volunteering at the club to help out.

She said: "It keeps Lewis focused, John has given him the courage to actually go to martial arts competitions."

He has done really well at two competitions, earning a silver and a bronze.

Tracy added: "That alone, for him to do that in front of a lot of people has been really phenomenal."

And the benefits in training and in the ring are translating into the world outside as well

Tracy said: "He left school last summer and I was really worried about him going into the adult world, but he is at college and his confidence is just unbelievable, he ended up the class rep at college as well."

She added: "I know where he is at N-Courage and I know that he is working through any anxieties he is struggling with and it's a bit of a release for him as well."

Also in the ring on the night was Gemma James who has been benefitting from training along with her daughter Jaymie-Leigh (pictured).

Gemma said was excited and nervous ahead of the fight but was also keen to highlight the positive differences saying she has more confidence and feels empowered to do things she previously couldn't imagine.

As for her daughter, she added: "There's a massive difference in her, she had very high anxiety when she first started and now, you wouldn't even think she had it!"