Unbreakable Loyalty

01/03/2024
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In today’s world, human beings can have virtually anything they want at the push of a button. Various retailers make their goods available to be delivered to your door within just a couple of hours. It is the generation of immediate results. So many pastimes and hobbies are now available, that those who dedicate many years to the same activity are becoming fewer.

“You have a true gift for bringing people together,” said Jess about Chief Instructor Kelly Bunyan (KB), in our article “Why Do KB Members Train?”.

Kelly (KB) and KB Fitness have been bringing people together and making a positive impact in people’s lives since the school’s inception in 1999. It’s a positive impact that ripples spread to life outside the KB dojo. This was definitely the case for Sonya Lynch, Sue Pindar and Jess Baker, who are celebrating their 20th KB Anniversary this year.

As the longest standing members, they are very much part of the school’s DNA and have many stories to tell, the most important one being how training at KB Fitness and being martial artists has shaped their lives.

“At the beginning, when I was a lower grade, being a KB Member was about being part of a martial arts school, learning the art form, training with friends and having fun. It was a safe space where I was guided, supported and taken care of,” said Sonya.

Jess said: “It’s really amazing to have reached 20 years at KB. I found the school by chance, but it very quickly became a big part of my life. I was still a teenager when I joined, so I have quite literally grown up here. Kelly and Dee have been wonderful mentors to me over the years, incredibly generous with their time and expertise, care and encouragement. I don’t know where I’d be, or even who I’d be, without them!”

Sonya’s and Jess’s words are a testament to how much dedication Chief Instructor Kelly (KB) and Senior Instructor Dee Terret put into the school and its ethos. Such dedication from Kelly and Dee inspires the members to show their gratitude and give back in any way they can. That’s the natural progression of a martial artist’s journey: to pass on advice and knowledge, and to nurture each new generation of students.

Sonya and Sue joined the KB assisting team, which means that they help the instructors during classes. Assistants welcome brand new students, making sure they enjoy their first steps into martial arts, as well as giving every student – both new and more experienced KBers – feedback during their training. In this way, every student is encouraged and made welcome from the very start.

“When I started assisting the instructors, the meaning of being a KB member started to change, as I could see first-hand what it meant to be part of someone else’s journey and see them progress. Years later, it’s still exciting to know that I have helped someone, even a little bit, on their journey,” said Sonya.

Sonya, Jess and Sue have been part of the martial arts journey of a whole generation of KB members. Every member who is in the school today will have words of admiration and gratitude to say about them.

“We all learn so much from Jess, Sue and Sonya, and really benefit from the time that all of the senior students give us in class. It’s a very special part of KB and I really appreciate the ethos Kelly (KB) instilled in the school that makes it happen,” said Ruth.

“They have been present from my very first class. I have learned so much from them. Not simply cleaner techniques and higher standards, as that’s expected since they have been training for far longer, but they have been instrumental as I learned about strength, resilience, patience, discipline, being kind to myself, giving myself credit for my achievements, dealing with setbacks, making the most of each moment in the dojo, and so many other important parts of being a martial artist,” said Kelly FN.

Jess joined the KB teaching team and was recently granted the title of KB Senior Instructor by Kelly (KB), since she has been teaching KB KickboxingKB Kung Fu and KB Self Defence for over 10 years.

“Joining the instructing team and being given the chance to give back by teaching at KB is a huge privilege. The school’s ethos of positivity, inner strength and – above all – kindness and respect creates a space that we all cherish. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of it all for so many years,” said Jess.

Sonya also shared that the meaning of being a KB member has changed for her over the years, as she progressed through her gradings. Today, as she celebrates 20 years in the school, here are her words about her life-changing KB journey: “After 20 years of training in the school, being a KB Member means: to always be my true and authentic self; to uphold the ethos of the school both inside and outside the dojo; to always make Kelly KB proud in everything I do. To be the best version of myself; to be a role model to others and guide and support them in their journey, both in life and in martial arts; to continue to grow and develop both as a person and as a martial artist, to pay forward the teachings, support and guidance given to me over the years, and to be deserving of the title of Elite Squad Member.”

Sue wanted to share why, after 20 years, she is still a KB Fitness member: “I have known Kelly and Dalia throughout these years and to say that it’s because of them that I have stayed so long is an understatement! Their commitment, dedication, knowledge, kindness, guidance, support, encouragement, selflessness and, most of all, their unconditional love, is second to none! As they say “home is where the heart is” and KB is definitely MY HOME.”

All that Sue mentions in her comment encompasses KB Fitness’ ethos and values, which is passed on from the instructors to the members. She also said:

“Everyone looks out for each other, whether it’s helping with a particular technique, advice about the best way to protect your feet, or cheering on the graders and tournament competitors. It’s not a coincidence that KB is such a safe, friendly, exciting, loving, inspiring and fun place to train and learn, it’s because of the endless hours and effort that Kelly and Dalia put into KB each and every day.”

It’s Kelly’s and Dee’s passion and good hearts that inspire such loyalty, along with the values intrinsic to following in the footsteps of martial arts tradition and making it not only a pastime, but a way of life.

Kelly said about her 3 longest standing members: “Your commitment, loyalty, and contribution to the school have been invaluable. But even more so has been your friendship and everything we’ve been through together over the years. You can’t really have such a long relationship with someone and not form a deep connection. Here’s to the next 20 years together.”

It is undeniable that training in the martial arts brings many benefits, and can be truly life changing. In Sonya’s mail, she included a message that is very fitting to conclude this article:

“KB teaches life lessons, from picking yourself up when you fall and rising to meet challenges, to dealing with setbacks working to achieve your goals. Every aspect teaches you a life lesson if you are open to taking it on board. It shapes you as a person and shows you who you really are – or who you can be, if you are open to learn and grow. As with many things in life, what you get out of it matches the effort you put in.”

Are you ready to embark on a life-changing journey and be guided by experts to become the best version of yourself? Book your first KB Kickboxing class today.

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