FOOD FOR THE SOUL

09/11/2021
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This grading day photo captures so much – the joy and elation to be experienced after years of dedication and commitment. So much more than that though, it also reveals the camaraderie that exists within our school.

For the two decades our martial art school’s Chief Instructor, Kelly Bunyan (KB) has awarded belts and sashes, the same physical response has surfaced time and again. 
 
Often when people hear ‘Kickboxing,’ their immediate words of association are: aggressive, knockout, contact sport. For the vast majority of schools, their choice of vocabulary is not misplaced.

The imagery they conjure up in their mind would certainly not depict a group hug like the one above. Of the selected words, only ‘contact sport’ are applicable to training at KB Fitness. 

 

When sparring, contact of the controlled variety is certainly made and those of who spar LOVE it, because they know it’s as safe as can possibly be; it’s the icing on the delicious selection of martial art delicacies our members are blessed to consume.

Actually though, the contact for the vast majority of our members goes way beyond the connection of punches and kicks striving to score a point. After you bow at our Kickboxing classes, you touch gloves. At the end of each sparring set, many hug. Adding to that, everybody high fives spontaneously throughout the night. Before heading home, some will hug again. 😉 The frequency of hugs of course, will depend on how deeply they feel the bond with some of their training peers and what level of physical contact they’re comfortable with in such a setting. The truth is, as human beings, through physical contact, we seek affection, try to establish a connection, or attempt to communicate a need. 
 
Inside and outside the dojo, touch can have powerful psychological effects on both the giver and the recipient. It conveys a lot of unsaid information, a gesture loaded with meaning. So what is it saying in the KB Fitness dojo? It’s saying: I respect you | I care about you despite punching and kicking you | I need you to progress to the next level | I love sharing these exhilarating hours with you etc. When our members touch gloves, high five or hug, the contact solidifies the sense of community. Although a high five is ephemeral, the spiritual connection is far from fleeting. 
 
Being isolated has forced people to recognise that feeling socially connected is as fundamental to our longevity as, for example, eating the right foods. The power of touch has been taken swiftly away from us. Through a prolonged absence from the physical dojo, we were denied our usual physical interaction: the sparring, the pad work, the hugs. We visualised all of it though. In fact, Kelly KB eagerly offers her hand when she teaches our international members through the camera, for a virtual high five. 

It has been referenced, how the dojo provides such excellent escapism from life’s stresses – no screens being one of the benefits. Now we have been utterly dependent on the aforementioned gadgetry to facilitate the continuation of our closely knit bond. (We were still ‘switching off’ though, even if looking at a screen). The ability to synchronise with others is crucial for social development, so we were so very grateful for our virtual dojo and connection. As although it may have had its physical limitations, we were still united as one strong force, all trucking forwards collectively. 
 
All our members were ecstatic to have the COVID restrictions lifted, meaning that the kickboxing classes in London would once again involve partner work and sparring, which are some of the members’ favourite aspects of the classes. This also meant the return of the group hugs and the pub socials. Their return was just as enthusiastic as predicted. 
 
Whatever is happening in your life, adding training in our martial arts school and plugging into the KB generator is food for the soul and we surely all need nourishment. Are you ready to invest in your wellbeing?

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