SPARRING PASSION

SPARRING PASSION

01/11/2022

Convincing potential members of the safe ethos Chief Instructor Kelly Bunyan instilled in her school is an ongoing challenge. It's no surprise, considering it's UFC and Boxing that grabs the headlines, not KB Fitness’ London Martial Arts classes.

The blood-stained, broken-nosed faces synonymous with the aforementioned 'sports' are enough to put anybody with a timid nature off looking for a Kickboxing school.

After all, such venomous competitors are literally trying to render somebody unconscious. Kelly KB says: “In my opinion, a good-natured soul would not be capable of such conduct, even in the name of sport.”

As a result, the misconception is that London Kickboxing training is for boisterous, aggressive, ego-fuelled people. 

When in fact, such over-zealous conduct is quashed at KB Fitness’ London Kickboxing classes – or, if the person in question is unable to be guided by Kelly’s ethos, they are removed from the school.

“UFC, Boxing and full contact Kickboxing literally disgust me. They repulse me to my core. The baying crowd, cheering and jeering, revolt me in equal measure. As far as I'm concerned, deriving enjoyment from somebody else's physical demise - let's call it what it is: GBH - is wholly misplaced,” says Chief Instructor Kelly KB, who has been teaching for over 20 years, and training in the martial arts since she was 11 years old.

No surprise then, that training at KB Fitness’ London Kickboxing classes is quite the opposite. When competing, KB members cheer to celebrate the controlled contact that is displayed. Some people even clap when a point is scored against them, showing their appreciation for the skill of their training partner.

KB students are taught to sense when somebody is retreating and in need of space, so nobody is left feeling harangued by a sparring partner. Everybody trusts that they will be taken care of because the exemplary level of care is such an ingrained part of the KB ethos.

KB members shared their thoughts regarding sparring and competing in KB’s in-house tournaments, knowing they've found a safe school to get started in.

Nick says: “For me, the tournaments are a highlight of my KB training. They’re the culmination of all our hard work, the drills and sparring. What makes them really special (both competing and as a spectator) is that everyone cheers on the participants in a good-natured way. The friendly environment is so encouraging and I always enjoy myself - win or lose. Every fight makes me feel so alive. Time warps around me and my opponent, I stop hearing any noise from the spectators and the world shrinks until it’s just the two of us. The sheer joy applying everything we learn in those rare crystallised split seconds is a joy beyond description.”

Ryan also comments: “A big part of what makes competing at KB so enjoyable is the care we have for each other, yes we do all want to win but there isn't an aggressive aspect at all. Punches and kicks are controlled and everyone is taken care of. Outside of competing it's also an amazing experience to watch the tournament too in between matches, picking up on your coaching comments, cheering on competitors with a 2-2-2-2-2-2-2 (the special chant for a difficult 2 point technique)!!!! I remember watching my first tournament and right after wanting to be a part of that energy.”

Zuzanna shared: “Tournaments at KB turned out to be very different from what I had expected. When I first joined KB I was quite hesitant to sign up for a tournament. At the time, my idea was that it would be a very competitive event with a lot of pressure to win, which did not sound like something I’d enjoy. I think it was after speaking to other members and hearing how enthusiastic they were, that I decided to give it a try. From the very beginning it was very clear that while obviously everyone wants to score as many points as possible, there was no pressure to be the best and there was certainly no shame in losing a fight. The way I think of tournaments now is that they are a form of celebration, rather than competition, because that’s when we get to see each other’s progress and what our fighting is like when we’re trying our best.”

Frederike says: “I remember my first tournament fight very well. I felt quite nervous the day leading up to it, and my main worry was that I might not score a single point. But once the first 'fight!' is called, the nerves disappear and what is left is the exhilarating energy and tremendous fun. It can be daunting to think that other members are watching you fight, but everyone is so supportive and genuinely cheering on every fighter, that that worry quickly disappears. Every fight is a great learning opportunity and as they're KB tournaments, they're entirely positive, whether you win or lose.”

Jenny said: “Sparring is one of my favourite things about KB, as I think it is for most people in the classes. So I always hope as many beginners as possible will take up the new challenge that's on offer and give it a go. It's not as daunting as people sometimes think, and is one of the big things that sets martial arts schools apart from ‘boxercise’ type classes. Nothing will improve your training and get you more ready for the next grading than sparring does. And I can't stress enough how safe it is in this school compared with other places. I even sparred in the week before my wedding, confident there would be no black eyes!”

If at all intrigued, make the move. Get in touch and book your first London Kickboxing class today.

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