Those who choose to train in the martial arts will often say that martial arts is a way of life. This is the case for many KB members, who have embraced the traditional side of their training.

What does it mean then, when we say that martial arts is a way of life? It means that the training becomes more than simply punching and kicking, and what is learned in the dojo transcends into daily life, transforming one’s behaviour.

So as the physical teachings of martial arts – the stances, forms, styles, techniques – are passed down from teacher to student, so too are less

obvious teachings that most people don’t consider when starting their martial arts journey. Patience, self-confidence, persistence, kindness, presence of mind, calmness, lack of ego… many elements of the martial arts are internal and easily applicable in life outside of the dojo.

We asked our students what kind of training advice they have received over the years that has reflected positively in their wider lives.

Jess, who has been learning martial arts at KB Fitness for over 20 years, said: “Kelly will often remind you that her role is to bring out the best in you. That requires critique. No one improves without correction. I’d estimate I’ve been given literally thousands of corrections over the years, and lots of that was repeated things that took me time to get right. Rather than be dispirited by being corrected, embrace it as an absolute gift. Your instructor is using their expertise to help you get where you want to be! Never take it as a negative because it really isn’t. If you’re able to receive corrections with total positivity and implement the changes, you will really progress. You’ll honestly amaze yourself with what you achieve!”

It is indeed an enriching experience to receive corrections and feedback from your instructor, as it always comes from a genuine eagerness for the student to improve and become their best. And this approach to criticism as a tool for learning and improvement, can be applied elsewhere, too.

“Kelly has given me advice countless times over the years, but one of my favourite tips was to train during class as if it’s your grading – it drives you to push harder at every class,” said Ryan, KB Kickboxing Black Belt and KB Kung Fu Black Sash.

“Intensity at every class is key. Training in your top gear at all times is essential for sharp performance,” said Kelly.

Applying this mindset of always giving your best effort will reap rewards in whatever area of life it’s applied to.

Neil, who has recently been awarded his KB Kickboxing Black Belt, said: “We were doing a really long set of air work once a while back, and Kelly said that when we are flagging and think we can’t get through the set, we should say to yourselves something like ‘Can I do it? Yes, I can!’ That’s particularly useful in a grading, but even in a regular class when there’s a set you’re finding difficult or just tiring. A reminder that you can fire and do it.”

This kind of attitude towards training breeds a determined mindset, which will surely permeate all areas of life and strengthen with time transforming from “Yes I can” to “Of course I can.”

The moments Neil describes are akin to hitting a mental ‘wall’, as Adam explained: “When you have already given so much and you think you don’t have anything else to give… suddenly, you discover that you can in fact push through it, if you believe in yourself. It’s during these moments when you feel empowered and learn how determined you can be when you put your mind to it. It’s a lesson that you can take beyond the dojo into everyday life.”

“I sometimes surprise myself with how long I can keep going. I’ve been told to dig deep and give it my all during class. When I’m flagging, just hearing those words ‘I believe in you! You can do it! Keep going!’ is a real energy booster,” said Phoebe.

“A key moment during my KB martial arts training was during my first KB Kung Fu Grading when I shook my head in frustration at getting something wrong and Kelly saw me. She looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Don’t shake your head! I believe in you, so believe in yourself!’ It may seem like simple words, but that moment made a huge difference in my training and in my life,” said Kelly FN, who was recently awarded her KB Kickboxing Black Belt, after training at KB’s London Kickboxing classes for 9 years.

An important part of success in any area of life is self-belief, which can bloom when we know that others believe in our capability to achieve great things.

Zuzanna shared her experience of starting Kelly’s classes as a beginner: “I think something that was particularly useful for me to hear when I first joined Kelly’s classes was to try my best when faced with difficult drills and do as much as I can, even if I need to drop a technique here and there. At the time I was used to drills of 3 techniques and moving to Kelly’s class meant we were doing drills of 6+ techniques, some of which I was doing for the very first time, which felt like a lot. I would often freeze and miss the call because I couldn’t remember the entire sequence. Doing some of the drill is much better than not doing any of it for fear of getting it wrong – and you will learn so much faster!”

Kelly says that it’s natural to feel a little out of your depth when getting started: “It’s impossible to keep up with the higher grades in the initial stages. In time, regular training leads to being able to match them, and then, you become a higher grade, leading the pace. We were all beginners once.”

More than some advice about how to approach KB Kickboxing training, these words relate to perseverance, and learning not to give up when faced with adversities. As well as being bold in trying new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone once in a while.

The bond built between martial arts instructor and students is truly admirable. It is one of respect, admiration, shared passion, and trust.

“I think one of the most important pieces of advice for me has been to trust Kelly’s judgement. Realising she genuinely sees every single student in class and knows exactly where they’re at, made all the difference to training. Starting from the little things, such as ‘if Kelly asks me to punch faster, it’s because she knows I can’, to the big ones ‘if she tells me that I’m ready to grade, I’m ready to grade!’. Trusting Kelly’s judgement has been repeated advice throughout the years, and it really changes the training mindset: ‘Kelly says you can do it, so you can do it!’, as well as replacing any self-doubt one might have with KB positivity,” said Frederike, KB Kickboxing member since 2014.

Marianne also shared how her KB Kickboxing training benefitted her in the dojo and in life: “Kelly really helped me to see the good and the pleasure in the day in, day out work of training. Every training session, no matter how tired you are or how much of a slog it feels, will contain at least one moment that makes you grin from the joy of movement, or from progress, or friendship – you just have to remember to look for those moments! It’s such a profound thing to learn, and useful in so many parts of life.”

It is indisputable that many KB members of the present and of the past have had their lives changed due to their training, and what they learned as a result of Kelly’s tutelage.

An indomitable spirit, resilience, confidence, strength (both physical and mental), a positive outlook in life, not to mention their highest level of fitness. Think you could benefit from these and many more aspects of martial arts training? Book your first KB London Kickboxing class today.




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