Last Sunday, KB Fitness held another successful KB Kickboxing Grading in London. Now in its 25th year, the school has held many Gradings and awarded many KB Kickboxing Belts.

The faces may change, but what doesn’t change is the passion and commitment present at each KB Kickboxing Grading.
Chief examiner Kelly (KB) commended the graders: “You could have been home, watching a movie and drinking hot cocoa on such a cold day, but you chose to be here, you chose to invest in your martial arts training and progress. Well done!”

There was sweat, hard work, shows of excellence, and proud ki-ais all around the room as the KB members who decided to take the traditional martial arts route were assessed. All their hard work and effort paid off as they showed themselves and Kelly why they were deserving of their belts.

With a total of forty-four KB members in the grading dojo, the graders were

supported by their peers who came to train alongside them, and lend their energy and positivity on this special day.

Some of the mock graders in the room, who were experiencing a KB Kickboxing grading for the first time, have now been inspired to start their KB grading journeys: “Feeling very motivated after yesterday and it was nice to see the tournament and the social side of the club too! I would like to go for both White and Blue belt, in March and June respectively, if that’s possible. It was definitely a great experience to be part of the energy in the room.,” said Lewis, when asked if he would like to aim for his first KB Kickboxing Belt in 2024.

Brenda set her goals for the upcoming year, too: “I loved the experience. And I did much better than I expected. Can I aim for White in March and Blue in June? Might as well go all in and make it a 2024 goal!”

“It makes me really emotional to see the KB Grading dojo so full, and so many beginners experiencing what it is to grade for the first time. As a higher grade, I am also proud to be able to share my experience with them, and even inspire them to take their belts,” said Kelly FN, KB Kickboxing Black Belt.

Twenty lower grade students were inspired to attend the last KB Sunday of 2023. Not all of them graded, but all of them trained hard, and finished on a high, feeling deeply motivated to continue their grading journeys.

Alice was one of the lower grades who took her KB Kickboxing Green Belt (3rd belt). She said on Monday morning: “I still feel like a kid who has just received the best Xmas present ever! I slept with my Green Belt on my bedside table.”

It’s a well-known tradition of sorts that some KB members sleep wearing their new belts or have them close by on the first night after the grading to symbolise the importance of their accomplishment.

Nick, who took his KB Orange Belt (4th belt), said: “Mine was under my pillow!”

Someone who doesn’t train in the martial arts, or has never experienced the traditional side of it, may think that there are egos involved in the process, but it is, in fact, the opposite – Grading is a deeply humbling experience, as you can see from the gratitude expressed by James, who progressed to KB Kickboxing Brown Belt (6th belt):

“I was glad to be able to thank a lot of you in person for helping me today (and in the lead up to it!). But let me say thanks again to Kelly for running this school, to Victor for helping me train to this level, and to all of you for being part of something great.”

Kelly FN and Neil did the second part of their KB Black Belt Grading, which is known to be more technical than physical, but in no way less demanding or less thrilling.

“Our KB Grading journey may be over, but our martial arts journey is just beginning,” said Kelly FN.

As is traditional of KB Sunday, a KB Kickboxing tournament followed the grading. The fighters showed high standards of technique, and the usual camaraderie and encouragement, at the final event of the year.

It was an electric final between reining KB league champion Jenny Whinney, who took a break from training to dedicate herself to her family, and Ryan Lucas-Reid. Jenny won the fight, but Ryan emerged as the victor of this year’s league, and took home the trophy.

The day was filled with emotional moments, encouragement, fire, sweaty hugs, and (of course) punches and kicks. It drew to a close at the local pub, where KB members gathered to have a well-deserved meal and share many laughs and cheers.

In addition to celebrating new belts and tournament wins, KB Fitness was celebrating the amazing year, the passion members and instructors share for the martial arts, and the long term members’ loyalty to the school. For in 2023, three KB Fitness members reached their 20th KB anniversary.

Jess, Sonya and Sue, who have become part of the history of KB Fitness and part of the martial arts journey of countless of KB members, were recognised as KB Fitness’ longest standing members.

When asked why they still train, why they are still part of the school, they said:

“Because I’ve seen what other schools are like, and I know how special this school is, and because of the positive impact you’ve had in my life, Kelly and Dee,” said Sue.

“Because I still love my training and inspiring the new generation to start their own journey,” said Sonya,

“Because of all the support that I’ve received from you along the way, Kelly. Because I get to teach in the school and give back by guiding and inspiring others,” said Jess.

We look forward to 2024 with more passion than ever, as we prepare to guide even more KB members through their martial arts journey, a spiritual journey of self-discovery and self-belief.

Keen to learn the martial arts in a place you can call a safe haven? Want to be inspired to become the best version of yourself? Book your first KB Kickboxing class London today.




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