“We must strive for excellence!” are words that Chief Instructor Kelly Bunyan periodically roars at the front of her Kickboxing dojo. Considering that excellence refers to the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, that is a bold, rallying statement to make.

That’s Kelly’s role as the Chief Instructor of a martial arts school in London, to motivate and enthuse her students to push to the highest attainable level, to encourage all of her members to refrain from ‘settling.’ 

After some consideration, however, Kelly has concluded that excellence should be lived and not pursued. As Aristotle said:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” The quote coincidentally, this ties in perfectly with the number of times she shouts, “be the best you can be right now!”


Being excellent in the martial arts doesn’t just mean kicking at head height and throwing sharp punches, instead, it refers to a whole package of personal characteristics, such as courage, wisdom, endurance and sensitivity.

Adding to this, excellence ought not be the preserve of the high achievers, but rather anybody who lives their life at the end of the spectrum where characteristics such as compassion, consistency and engagement reside.

Despite referencing the above, there is no clear-cut criterion to pin down excellence; it could be said that it is only identifiable by the acknowledgement of lesser accomplishments. Like many things, excellence can be highly subjective, due to differing sensory systems.

Kelly asserts, “I am of the subjective opinion that everybody belonging to my martial arts school is excellent. Choosing to train in a kickboxing class in London, when you could be Netflix and chilling, knitting, or whatever else, means that you stand apart from the majority of people who never step into a dojo. Your excellence is embedded within you. (Plus, you know there’s time for knitting after class).”

Kelly then wraps it up by saying, “Naturally, we should want to be better in the martial arts, in everything we apply ourselves to. This will be achieved by training regularly, but more than that, being present and focused when in the kickboxing dojo in london.”

One KB Member, Beth, commented:

“Interesting to understand your thoughts on striving for excellence – two points particularly resonated with me…. The first: “Be the best you can be right now” is a great way to live life – since joining your school and becoming your student, this has become one of the philosophies that I live my life by. I think I’ve always had high expectations of myself and would always push myself to achieve things, but I think your teachings make for a much healthier mindset. It allows recognition of progress being made on the journey to achieving one’s goals as well as the achievement of the goal itself.

The second: that improving in the martial arts is not only about training regularly, but is also about being present and focused whilst in the dojo. Being in the dojo is something I cherish – precisely for that reason…. For the time in the dojo there is no mobile phones or TEAMS calls or technology or screens. It’s a time when I can just be….focused on the now…. enjoying the immediate present….without distractions.”

Are you ready to invest in yourself and be excellent today at your first kickboxing class? 




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