Aug 10th 2013

Clean Sweep for Kids Fight Team At Machine MMA

The kids fight team were in action this weekend in their first ever Low Kick Kickboxing matches. The Team have been on a steep learning curve this last 6 months as they prepare for the Unified World Open Championships in Tuscany, Italy.

At the start of June none of the team had ever taken part in any competitive fights. Since then they have  attended the trials for the England squad and amazingly in spite of their inexperience got selected based on the strength of their skills, grit and determination. With a World Open in their near future they have had to get busy building their competitive experience. Something they’ve done with gusto attending two British Light Continuous Council (BLCC) Events and a handful of them making it to the ICO British Open. All this within the past three months.

Yesterday was another step towards the worlds and a chance to compete in a different discipline – low kick kickboxing.  The fighters didn’t disappoint putting in sterling performances for a clean sweep of five victories from five fights.

First up for the academy was Sonny Grieves. Sonny put in what was probably the most complete performance of any of the team on the night showing an array of technical skills blended with superior strength & fitness as he repeatedly beat his opponent to the punch, and landed combination after combination of superb punches and kicks. Sonny’s speed and timing have improved much of late and this showed as he hurt his opponent twice with heavy shin kicks to the ribs which he set up beautifully with his combination attacks. Sonny’s fitness and determination showed particularly in the latter part of the fight when his opponent faded as Sonny grew stronger. Only two weeks after his ninth Birthday, bright things are anticipated for this young mans future. As the decision was announced the announcer gave special mention to Sonny’s performance and no one in the capacity crowd was surprised when he announced the winner, by unanimous decision – Sonny Grieves.

Next in the cage was young Blaine Knaggs. Ten year old Blaine has been busy over the last three months and the training and competitive experience served him well as he put in a dominant performance winning every second of his fight with his signature brand of cool, calm, focused work. Blaine controlled the distance of the fight from the start using his brilliant footwork to  maintain range as he stepped in with punishing attacks and then danced away with ease as his opponents rebuttals met fresh air. Blaine knew early that this was a fight that he could control so he dropped his guard and began to move through the gears putting on a show for the spectators. What followed was a masterclass as Blaine landed spin kick after high kick after spin kick, showing complete dominance and hitting his opponent at will. His opponent was very tough and game and a credit to his coaches as he absorbed some heavy fire including some devastating spinning back kicks to the ribs and face which rocked him back against the fence. Such was the one sidedness of the fight that at the end of the second he was instructed from the corner to slow down and allow his opponent to finish the fight. An instruction which Blaine graciously followed and allowed his opponent back into the fight. The young man then became more aggressive and charged at Blaine catching a kick on the way to a great MMA take down finished with a ground and pound. Unfortunately this was not in the rules so the lad received a stern warning from the referee. There were no hard feelings on this from Blaine or his corner however as unlike Blaine this young man trains in MMA so it is a credit to his coaches that when the going got tough he instinctively reverted to his training. Credit must be given to these fighters as our fighters focus 100% on stand up, these young men have a multitude of other disciplines to tend to.

After the ground and pound incident, Blaine re asserted his dominance with some strong side kicks and scissor kicks along with his fast boxing combinations. In the end the result was as expected – Blaine Knaggs Winner by unanimous decision.

Straight up after Blaine was Lucy Unijat. Lucy’s original opponent had pulled out so another young lady had stepped in. Although, at eleven years old the new opponent was the same age she was lighter by almost 8kg so both camps agreed that this fight should be a no decision demonstration bout.  Lucy is known as a powerful and explosive fighter so she was under strict instructions to keep her work under control and to use the bout as a learning experience for both her and her opponent. Lucy duly obliged and put on a fantastic display of controlled technique, showing great speed, footwork and a range of punches and kicks including several notable spinning hook kicks which not only landed clean but with great control which is a difficult feat for such an inexperienced competitor. Lucy recently had her first BLCC fight and in that showed she could apply strong aggressive pressure with explosive speed. In this fight she showed she a new dimension boxing on the back foot, dancing out of range and drawing her opponent on as she picker her off and made her miss. In a demonstration bout both fighters are winners and both girls were chuffed with their shiny new medals and the extra three rounds they now had in the bank.

Up next for the academy was young Kona Sands. Kona, at just ten years old, was having his first competitive fight ever. Despite this he didn’t show one ounce of nerves. He was taller and leaner than his opponents and used his reach to good effect controlling the centre of the cage and picking his opponent off from range. As the bout progressed he began to build on his success by stringing together combinations and he had particular success with his fast boxing and low kick combinations and his long range teeps and high kicks. A notable success was a Saenchai-esque scissor kick which landed squarely on his opponents ribs and caused a standing eight count. After this Kona was encouraged to exercise good control as the main aim of these bouts – whilst being competitive – was to allow all participants much needed experience and learning. Kona followed this instruction to a T doing enough work to maintain control of the bout without doing unnecessary damage. Another unanimous win for The Combat Academy.

Finally, in the penultimate bout of the night, was the last of the young academy warriors; thriteen year old Lewis Tighe.  Lewis’s opponent had come in 10kgs heavier than expected (as these matches had been made for several months it is common for kids of this age to have a growth spurt). Because of the weight discrepancy this was made a demonstration bout that would have no decision. With this in mind Lewis was instructed to go out and show control, practice his technique and enjoy himself. Unfortunately for Lewis no one had mentioned the concept of the demonstration bout to his opponent who came out at full steam sinking in heavy low kicks and loading up on big punches. Lewis duly responded in kind as he was instructed to meet the opponent on his own terms. From this a battle ensued with the action going back and forth with both parties initially giving no quarter. Towards the end of the first round however, Lewis’s superior boxing skills and better conditioning began to show as his opponent fatigued and Lewis opened up with big punch combinations, pinning his opponent to the cage fence and unloading.

Before the second round Lewis was told by his corner to keep his work strong and aggressive whilever his opponent came out so strong. True to form the second followed the pattern of the first but this time with Lewis taking the initiative more quickly when his opponent again came out at full power. Lewis used his strong boxing to intercept the kick attacks coming his way and then followed up on his then unbalanced opponent with more boxing and low kicks. Lewis’s superior conditioning really came to the fore at this point as his opponent spent the rest of round two struggling to regain his composure as he was repeatedly pressed against the fence shipping heavy fire.  In round three Lewis was told to continue to rumble with his opponent who had only war on his mind. But this time more movement and cleaner exits from attacks were needed to really demonstrate his dominance and better conditioning. Lewis followed these instructions to a T and picked up the third round where he left off getting off his combinations before dancing away making his opponent miss his counter attacks. Another demonstration bout in which both fighters were announced as winners but the other corners mistaken attempts to bully and boss the fight had back fired with the bigger man finishing battered, bruised and exhausted. Both boys embraced each other after the fight and great respect was shown all around. The aggressive approach had been taken by Lewis and his team how it was meant – as a competitive will to dominate – an approach all fighters need to take into the ring. The MC promptly announced this as fight of the night and Lewis showed that as well as being technical, the academy fighters can get down and dirty and go to war when needed.

After the fights the kids fight team and the coaches and cornermen received some fantastic comments from the supporting crowd and we all had a great time at what was not only a well run and presented event, but also a great place to be as the crowd were very positive and supportive of all fighters no matter whether they were from home or away.

A big thanks must go to our good friend and host  Mr  Ian “The Machine” Freeman,  the event organiser Mr Lee Curry and his great team of officials and staff who made this such a great experience for all of the kids and spectators involved.


"Took my 2 grandchildren here as I got fed up of them on the Xbox. Mick trains them hard but it is so good to see the boys healthy and alert."

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