What Is Club Focus?
By now, you’ve probably spent plenty of time enjoying the events in Rio and have been inspired to get active and try out something new. Kickboxing may not yet be part of the Olympic experience (yet!) but it is still one of the fastest growing participation sports in the country. To get involved you have two options; you can watch action movies and try and learn the moves yourself (which worked surprisingly well for a friend of mine), or you can take advantage of some of the fantastic clubs available and join your local club to learn this exciting and dynamic combat sport.
We recommend the latter! To help you out, we will be offering information on kickboxing facilities around the country, interviews with the Instructors and details for how to get in touch and give it a go.
First up, we speak to five time world champion Alex Kennedy, Chief Instructor at Guildford’s recently re-branded Mavericks Martial Arts.
Meet the Instructor
What first got you interested in Kickboxing/Martial Arts?
I had an interest in Martial Arts from a young age, I loved watching the Martial Arts action films of the 80’s like American Ninja as well as early Van Damme films like Bloodsport. I trained in judo as a teenager and won a few competitions before I stopped when I went to college. I started Kickboxing after I joined a gym and I noticed they did classes there. I tried one out, loved it and never looked back!
How long have you been training?
I’ve been training in Kickboxing for 15 years, but I have tried other styles over the years, like Judo, Muay Thai, and BJJ but I’ve always put the serious time into Kickboxing.
Any favourite techniques (Any tips)?
My favourite technique to land is probably a back kick or a sweep. They both take timing and skill to land against a good opponent. Students should practice the variations of the technique and for what comes after, if its blocked or stopped you need to make sure you can follow up or move off.
What Instructors have you worked with?
I have been fortunate to have worked with some fantastic Kickboxers over the years, too many to mention, but I think my biggest growth came while I was training at the Richmond Academy of Martial Arts which was run by Wez Lucas and his bother Danny. They were a great help. From there I worked with Master Curtis Page and his sons Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Kalon Page along with all the other fantastic instructors under the GBMAA. Since then I have kept training with most of those guys and have also learned much from the coaches at WAKO GB and WKU England through their squad training in addition to my experiences at the top level tournaments.
What titles have you held?
Everything I have won is important to me and there is too much to list individually. The most prestigious would be the 2 WKA World Championship Golds, and 3 WKU World Championship Golds. I’ve also won 3 WAKO British Championship Golds, 3 Cimac Superleague Grand Championships, 2 Bristol Open Championships, an Irish Open Championship, a Spanish Open Championship, and a US Open Championship as well as the Clash of Titans & Kings Battleground team titles with the GBMAA team.
What do you feel are the benefits of kickboxing training?
Kickboxing training can offer a great amount to anyone, and will offer different things to different people. If the student trains well it gives fitness, strength, and flexibility as well as learning the art itself. It can also give confidence, a sense of purpose and achievable goals whether in fitness, competition or grading’s.
What do you offer as a teacher that’s specific to you and what would we see in your students?
You might be better off asking my students that question! I hope I’m a good motivator and good at getting the best out of the individual regardless of what their goals are. I’m also keen to make my students well rounded and able to fight in more than just one way.
Do your students compete?
I think competition is an important part of kickboxing as it allows a student Alex Kennedy with BKC supporter Michael Page to put into practice what they have learned. Obviously not everyone will want to compete and that’s fine as long they get what they want out of their training. However, if anyone wants to earn a Brown Belt from me they must compete, and then the same again between Brown Belt and Black Belt. I don’t need all my students to be champions, I just think to hold a senior belt you must have put what you learned into practice at least a few times.
“Choose a good club, train hard and enjoy the journey!”
Who should we be on the lookout for?
I have two assistant instructors in Brendan Martin and Daniel Hayles who are starting to fulfil their potential, and Lizzie Bell has done outstandingly well in the short time she has been competing. Mary Hatton is a student who has the determination to go really far and I have two fantastic juniors in Giorgio Visioli and Meghan Milne who will be representing WAKO GB at the upcoming Junior World Championships. Expect big things from them over the years!
What facilities do you have at the Mavericks Martial Arts Academy?
We have recently refurbished the Academy to suit our new colour scheme and padded up the walls and posts, we have also created a grappling and MMA sparring section with a cage wall and doubled mats, we have plenty of bags, pads, a sparring Bob and a small weights section.
What types of classes are offered at the academy?
We offer daytime and evening Kickboxing classes, and for the advanced students we have sparring classes for points, continuous and low Kick kickboxing as well as technical, skill development and pad work sessions. We run Lil’ Dragons classes for the 4-7 year old age group which is great fun for us and them! We also offer classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA and they have developed quickly over the last two years, we have a few students competing in those styles and they are doing really well.
What are your thoughts on kickboxing grading systems, and what improvements could be made?
I think they need to be realistic and progressive. A lot of grading’s are technically heavy, but the Mavericks Academy syllabus is a more even split between technique, pad work, drills and sparring. Also it’s important not being afraid to fail a student if they don’t hit the minimum standard, it’s not something I’ve ever enjoyed doing and its rare as we don’t put anyone forward to grade if we don’t think they are ready, but it has happened. This gives more value to the belt and everyone who passes knows they have earned their belt
If you live near to the Guildford area, and are interested in trying your hand at kickboxing, Mavericks will certainly fulfil all of your expectations. Great facilities, world class instructors and a friendly yet dedicated atmosphere.
To book your class, contact the team at:
E – mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01483 568455
Alternatively check out their website at: www.mavericksmartialarts.com
If you’ve enjoyed this article, and would like to see your club featured in the future, please contact email@example.com!