ProKick Review 2015
There are countless highlights for the ProKick gym as Kathryn Warren looks back at 2015:
Three home events (Total Divas, Made in ProKick, KICKmas) which were crammed full of top class action resulting in new European and World Champions, professional debuts, defending World Champions and a new Irish Schoolboys Champion.
Thirty-five ProKickers made the journey to the World Martial Arts Games Championship in Switzerland, many stepping up to the challenge of competing for the first time. The team came home with five gold medals as well as a host of silver and bronze!
Four new senior black belts achieved their ultimate goal after years of perfecting their knowledge with two new junior black belts meaning that for the club celebrated a granny and granddaughter black belt special!
Hundreds of kickboxing newcomers set foot inside the gym for the first time in 2015 with a record number of attendees at the ever popular six-week beginners class…this is where it all started for our World Champions and black belts. And for those die-hard fitness freaks who can forget the seemingly ever present early morning joy of Billy’s ProKick Bootcamps? For many ProKickers 6am in 2015 looked like sprints, car pulling, piggy backs, endless burpees, sit-ups and squat jumps all before most people’s alarm clock even sounds!
That’s not to mention BAFTA awards, Oscar nominations, SMART cars….
Here’s the next instalment of ProKick’s review 2015 - Jan - Feb 15
As per usual the beginning of any new year warrants the rise of fresh
new blood coming through the ProKick doors, that was no different on 5th January 2015 as the first 6 week beginners course kicked off with a packed class anticipating their entry into 2015 as a fit and healthy one.
And this trend continued as the second beginners class started on 20th January 2015…and the craze carried on throughout the year with two fully booked beginners classes springing into action each month. In true ProKick fashion each of these six week courses ended with the infamous ‘Pads circuit’ which puts together everything you’ve learnt and attempts to push your new fitness level to the extreme limit. There appears to be some ambiguity about how many people had to use the ProSick bucket this year…but it definitely was used! Check out the video here to see one of these circuits from January 2015
At the end of January, ProKick’s first 2015 blockbuster show ‘Total Divas & the Undercard’ was announced with the ladies due to take centre stage on 29th March. Cathy McAleer’s European title shot was topping the bill with a variety of fights showcasing the best of ProKick’s novices, teenagers and our more experienced title holders demonstrating their talent.
Needless to say for ProKick’s fighters the beginning of the year got off to a bang with training, sparring and bootcamps all in order to perform at the highest standard for the first show of the year. It wasn’t long before ProKickers faced their first test of 2015 with an Adult and Kids grading taking place on Sunday 15th February. A grading is when kickboxing students, both non-contact and contact are assessed through a series of levels/grades with the base level being White Belt, through ten levels, finally reaching a Dan grade at black belt. This is the equivalent to a degree in kickboxing and on average would take between six and eight years. For 10 of our ProKick kids they took the next step on their grading journey in February and similarly 21 adults managed to make the grade without the romantic distractions of Valentine’s Day. Congratulations must go to one of ProKick’s elder statesmen Brian Gunning as this was his time to make achieve his blue belt…he was at risk of holding the record for longest serving green belt!
Whilst all of this kickboxing activity was filling the gym, it was mixed with talk of BAFTA’s, Oscar’s, red carpets and movies. Boogaloo and Graham, a local film directed by friend of the gym Michael Lennox starred Riley Hamilton, a young Prokicker and grandson of Mr Billy Murray (who along with Johnny Smith had bit parts as British squaddies).
The film was nominated and won the BAFTA award for Best Short Film on 8th February and ten days later Riley and his granda jetted
off to Los Angeles in the build up to the Oscars were the film has scored another nomination. Red carpet receptions, celebrity spotting and mingling,TV interviews and soaking up the LA lifestyle all followed for the ProKick pair and of course it all seemed to come naturally to them both! You can relive their antics here with Riley’s blog
The word on the street is that 2016 will again be a year where ProKick features in on the big screen…watch this space for more details!
March 2015 instalment
ProKick was marching with intent through 2015; preparation was now in full swing for the ‘Total Divas and Undercard’ show. The ladies were paving the way with their hard, committed and fast-paced training with Cathy McAleer, Samantha Robb, Rowena Bolt and Ruth McCormack becoming more and more fight ready as the month progressed. That’s not to say that the fighting men of ProKick were being outdone; Johnny Smith, Darren McMullan, Michael Swann, David Malcolm, Stephen Houston and Tim Ramsey were all working hard to be in top shape.
And on 29th March when the action kicked off at 4pm in the sold out Holiday Inn, Belfast it was non-stop! This event saw opponents travel from Galway, Carlow, England Poland and also two fighters from the south of France all facing the range of ProKick fighters. As usual it was a pleasure for ProKick to welcome back to Belfast their adopted Swiss son Killian Emery who fought extremely well for only his fourth competitive fight and was unanimously declared the winner.
In a great undercard match WKN Amateur K1 World Champion Darren McMullan came up against Lukas Paprocki (Poland) fighting out of Galway in which proved to be a tight contest as Paprocki came to upset the World Champion even though his title wasn’t on the line. However McMullan came out on top with a points win, although this wouldn’t be the last time these two would meet in 2015…
Samantha Robb (WKN Amateur Low-Kick World Champion) made her K1 debut against a tough French opponent Mallaury Kalachnikoff-Lakli, and after four rounds of gruelling action Kalachnikoff emerged as victor in a close points decision. Again, this wouldn’t be the last time these two battled it out between the ropes in 2015… Video Highlights from Total Divas
Onto the main event; Karate Queen Cathy McAleer was back to her preferred style of Full Contact rules and faced the WKN Amateur European Champion Stephanie Aubertin from France. McAleer had one thing in mind and that was to ensure that the belt stayed in Belfast. And ensure that she did, with the roof about to lift off the Holiday Inn, McAleer’s support cheered every punch and kick over the four rounds as she fought with focus, determination and brilliance.
This however wasn’t just a fight in isolation in order to win the European title. McAleer and coach Billy Murray had a plan in place for 2015 and this was just the beginning for Karate Queen Cathy…more to come so check back soon and read on to see how it progressed throughout the year.
Check back soon for the next instalment as Kathryn Warren reviews each part of the year in more detail. There’s much to celebrate!