The University of Bath’s Kickboxing Club is one of the University’s biggest success stories. Since being founded it has gone from strength to strength and is currently the 3rd largest sports club at the University with over 300 members.
The club has very enjoyable sessions and allows all members to compete and achieve belts. There is a huge variety of members, with a 50:50 gender balance and anyone is welcomed regardless of experience level or ability. In fact, the club are notorious for attending a variety of competitions throughout the year and returning with a massive haul of medals despite many members having never done a martial art before joining. Despite this, many choose not to compete and just enjoy getting involved for the incredible fitness benefits and social aspects.
Every year the club hosts a Fight Night which is a show including 10-14 fights against a rival university. The fight night is enjoyed by over 500 spectators and raises money for charity. A kickboxing boot camp in Newquay was held for the first time last year and this provided 50 members with an action packed weekend away. The trip included top quality coaching, new adrenaline filled experiences, and the chance to meet other likeminded people. This all culminated in Kickboxing receiving the Students’ Union’s Best Sports Club of 2014.
Despite all of this success, in the summer of 2014, it became apparent that the Kickboxing Club would no longer be able to continue due to new legislation. A club can only call itself a sports club and gain funding if it is recognised by Sports England. This means that a fun, competitive, successful club like kickboxing which provides a huge range of fitness benefits to over 300 members and has a brilliant reputation would no longer be able to function.
The club had far too many passionate members to allow sessions and socials which they rely on to stop though and so they investigated finding a solution. Originally the best plan seemed to be to rebrand the club as “University of Bath Model Aircraft and Kickboxing Club” with members taking it in turns to fly model planes for the sake of funding. Despite this being a popular idea the Chairman spotted that Chinese Martial Arts are officially recognised by Sports England. Therefore, if the club could be renamed the Sanda Kickboxing Club, then it could continue.
Sanda is a martial art developed by the Chinese military, incorporating kickboxing with takedowns and wrestling which makes it perfect for self-defence. However, the club became popular by teaching a style of Kickboxing which was based upon the fast flashy kicks of Taekwondo and the punching and fitness of Western Boxing. Therefore, in order for the club to remain popular and keep old members happy it was clear that the club would need to continue to function in the same style as before, but with the addition of an extra session dedicated to Sanda. This session will be invaluable in adding to the variety and diversity of fighting styles which help create well rounded fighters and martial artists. It will also open up even more competitions to the club, allowing members to bring back even more medals this year.
The new committee have already started fighting to get Kickboxing recognised by Sport England. This will involve cooperation between many different Kickboxing clubs around the UK and so the ‘United Kingdom University Kickboxing Organisation’ has been started which will act as a platform for university clubs to communicate. The club are also signing up for the Bath SU Inclusivity Award which shows dedication to a culture of being understanding and inclusive within the club.
All in all this year is looking to be better than ever. The calendar is already filling up with the Kickboxing Winter Boot Camp 2014 in Newquay booked for the weekend of the 24th October and the annual Fight Night will be held on the 21st November at the Pavilion.
For more information on the club, visit the stand at the Sports Fair, go along to a taster session during Freshers’ Week, or visit www.bathstudent.com/sport/clubs/kickboxing or follow @uob_kickboxing on Twitter.
Photos by Penelope Davis Photography