WANNABE Bonds and Bournes can perfect their fighting style at a new academy set to open in Darlington.

The Israeli self defence system Krav Maga, popularised in the James Bond and Jason Bourne film franchises, will be taught at The Northern Echo arena from Saturday, April 13.

The Pro Defence Krav Maga academy is the first full time academy of its kind to open in the North-East and will teach its members how to defend themselves using a system developed by the Israeli military.

The academy has been set up by Neil Walton, a police officer of 18 years and martial arts enthusiast.

Mr Walton, who taught police self defence for 16 years, said: “Krav Maga is relatively unknown in Britain but it’s massive across the world, especially in the States where celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Hilary Swank train in it.

“We’ll be covering every aspect of self defence for those unlucky enough to face a confrontational situation. We’ll look at real life scenarios and teach everything from choke holds to knife and stick fighting to firearms training.”

The academy joins a number of other sporting clubs to be hosted at The Northern Echo arena since it was taken over in December 2012 by Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Football Club.

Mr Walton said: “The more things hosted in there, the better. It attracts more people to the area. They are doing a great job have put a lot of thought into how to get the most out of the arena.”

An open day featuring a number of free classes will take place at the Pro Defence Krav Maga academy on Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Visitors are invited to donate to St Theresa’s Hospice.