Tag Archives: Southern Martial Arts

Kick to Thrill

As you may be aware, I took up a boxing/cardio class to try and get myself in shape. I wrote THIS when I started out. I just wanted to do the boxing, get fit – not fight, and John was the guy who got that ball rolling.

It didn’t take long before I joined the kickboxing class… I just wanted to build up my fitness some more, along with co-ordination and flexibility. I had no desire to spar or even compete… mind you, only a few weeks previously I had had no desire to join a kickboxing class…

Time moves on and I’m really enjoying the continued challenge and camaraderie of the people… the friends… that I train with and have met through getting in to the sport.

On January the 22nd I took my first step on the grade ladder and earned my blue belt. It was definitely ‘earned’ as the grade class took 2.5hrs – and had no breaks. It was go, go, go from the start.

After the 2.5hrs finished I walked away with my belt, blistery feet that felt like I was walking on water filled bubble wrap, and a very dead arm from a round kick block…. and I loved it!

Many thanks to the guys I partnered with during the grading – I know it was all about the individual, but if you end up with a bad partner it’s going to take a Hell of a lot more effort. Thankfully JD’s training (Head honcho for SMA Kickboxing) meant that only those who were capable of gaining a grade were actually put in to take the grade.

Since the grading I am now able to take part in sparring… and I’m actually looking forward to that… which can only mean that sooner or later I’ll probably say “You know what? Maybe I will compete….” – but that’s most likely later, if ever!

Up until now I have been an ungraded guy training in a room of kickboxers – but now I am graded and I feel I can call myself a kickboxer (albeit one with so much to learn). Now that I have that belt, and I have all of my  protective gear (listed here on the SMA site) I am ready for those sparring classes!

Ali kicks in

I’m finding that my boxing and kickboxing (Southern Martial Arts) is really helping with my fitness. I have come to live with the fact that my cardio isn’t the greatest (lung issues), but my overall fitness is improving. The weight I lost is going back on, but my waist size is staying the same… so that suggests I’m getting some muscle back… or at least getting some muscle…

The kickboxing is really helping my flexibility, balance and co-ordination, and that’s good because that’s what I am in it for. I’ll say that right now, if you asked me, that I am not going to do any competitions. I don’t need to do things that could put my health at risk and cause me to have time off of work. Family comes first, and with that I must think about income security… and anyway, much though I enjoy it all, I’ve not got the stamina to compete (not yet, at least) – I’ll leave that to the guys at SMA that have those skills – and they DO have the skills.

Anyway, I like the training, but really need to practice in-between classes, and where shadow boxing/kickboxing is all well and good, there are times when you need to put out the full force and make contact with something…. so I purchased a kick/punch bag from BLITZ SPORTS via SMA .

I filled the bottom 18″ is filled with builders sand (in a couple of bin bags to avoid any potential leakage), and then the rest is off cuts of leather and fabric which was cut down into small swatches. The leather forms the core and the leg section, then the fabric is used to fill the sides of the bag because the leather isn’t soft enough to fill the contours around the bags curves. It is designed to allow for lower leg, body hits and upper cut work. Once filled it weighed in at 80kg.

Alex likes to know what I do, so he knows I shoot and box/kickbox. He also knows that shooting people and fighting people is bad (rogue dinosaurs and evil pumpkins are fair game though), and that there is a difference between sport and bullying (he’s a bright lad!). He wanted to help me fill the bag, so I hung it up and put his step next to it so he could reach the top to put leather in…. the thing is that help didn’t last long as he wanted to try it out whilst we were still filling it!

He really enjoyed giving the bag some punches and kicks – and I hope that he’ll become interested enough to take it up. A local gym (Maximus Gym) offers a class for 5 to 14 year olds, so maybe that’s an option. I’d like him to take it up so he learns self control, how to defend himself and also the co-ordination and flexibility it offers.

He’s a gentle lad, but can put his strength down if picked on or if he gets carried away – and due to his size I don’t want him seen as the aggressor, but because he is such a caring child I don’t want him to become a victim either. I’d like him to have the skills so that he doesn’t ever get picked on – but if he does, he can deal with it cleanly. Man… he’s only 4 and a half, but you have to think ahead.

Most importantly though…. he seems to enjoy it!

Boxing and Kickboxing – Not what I expected

So you must ALL be aware by now of the cat attack I suffered…. (If not, wake up!!! Where have you been – Catch up HERE).

Whilst in hospital I shared a ward with some very interesting people. Inventors, photographers, programmers, war veterans and a martial arts chap…

I’ve kept in contact with a few of these people – and I have plenty of time for them, for although my cat bite was a serious thing (although kind of amusing), I count myself as very lucky to what other people were in with. Lots of respect to them.

One particular person has had a real major effect on my life. I was never the most sporty of people, mainly due to a knee cap break whilst at school that was fashionably diagnosed at the time as “growing pains”. It stopped my running, swimming, and sports interest in general. 15 years later and an X-ray showed a 15 year old badly healed knee cap.

Add to this my dodgy lungs (of which my January flu pushed over the edge and left me with asthma) plus joint issues, and you start to see I was never exactly at the peak of physical fitness.

Top it all with a back that put me out of work for 3 months and then that cat bite (which has left ongoing issues – including a sporadically weak wrist and potential to land me in hospital again with reinfection even years later), and you start to get a pretty good mental image of where I WAS….

I took up Nordic walking, running, mountain biking to try and help, and to a point it did. I lost a lot of weight, but the general fitness wasn’t improving as much as I liked… then I ended up in hospital opposite John Devaney of Southern Martial Arts.

He told me that he was setting up a boxing exercise class, so would I be interested. I blame either the painkillers I was on, or the hospital food… or more likely the fact of John being a very inspirational man (a snapped leg caused by weakness from chemo from cancer treatment… and he’s still someone who you would really want on your side in a dodgy situation) – but whatever it was, I agreed to go.

Lets face it… he was STARTING a boxing fitness class… I would be in a class as a newbie with a load of other newbies… What could go wrong?

The boxing fitness class was pretty much started for all the SMA martial arts people to improve their fitness levels… So yeah, I turned up and pretty much everyone knew everyone else, and they were all fit. Bugger….

It wasn’t easy… In fact I didn’t think I’d make it past the warm up… but I did. Everyone there made it a great experience, and John is a top notch instructor. I felt the benefits within a few days… so turned up again a week later… and have not looked back.

Then he suggested I join the Kickboxing class he runs. I said no, as I had some pretty valid reasons (in my head)… but then found myself in his kickboxing class and realising how useful it was for me – both physically and mentally. Encouragement from John and other class members got me there – and are keeping me their. Thanks to them all!

The kickboxing is really helping with co-ordination, general fitness and flexibility. After my back went I lost a lot of what (bad) flexibility I had – but SMA kickboxing has totally changed that. I even managed to briefly get my chin to my knees on an assisted stretch at the last session – and my splits are getting a whole lot lower than I ever could do them when I was younger… and I’m 37 now!

Intense energy sessions and press ups still cause me grief due to the lung and wrist problems, but it’s getting better. You can go at your own pace, but you are pushed to better yourself. Lets face it – there’s no point doing something if you are only going to go at it half heartedly.

You get out what you put in.

You can contact Southern Martial Arts at:

8 Union Road,

Tel: 01252 821 417

e-mail: johnd@southern-martial-arts.co.uk

Facebook: Southern Martial Arts

Why do I train?

For those I train with – Why I do it… (from 2008): Fitness Starts HERE 2008

Almost immediately after I started getting into this keeping healthy lark I ended up with a work related (badly) screwed back, which I used Nordic Walking to recover from… only to then get hit by a severe infection (leaving me asthmatic on top of the lung problems I already have) and the feral cat attack (through which I met John Devaney…. bloody cat).

Each set back just makes me want to come back harder, but each time I find it physically tougher, although that won’t stop me trying… Next step, KICKBOXING!!!!

I already go to a boxing class run by SMA, where the positive attitude of everyone really helps push me. I’ve never been good at fast, hard training (lungs again…), but if I am to fix that problem (and the dodgy wrist left over from the feral attack), then this class is really a kill or cure. It’s a tough class, no word of a lie!

I’m now going to go to the kickboxing class that SMA run. This should help me with stability, coordination and even more fitness/health issues… Kill or Cure, Kill or Cure!

I will be ready to take on that Arctic Survival for my 40th….



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