MOUNT FOREST – When 14 athletes from Rise Fight and Health right here competed on the Canadian Kickboxing Nationals in Niagara Falls lately, 13 of them received gold, silver or bronze, stated coach David Reeves.
Cassandra Barbossa, who received a gold belt on the competitors, stated “to see a fitness center out of Mount Forest come collectively the way in which it did” was a “tremendous unbelievable expertise.”
Brandon Hart, who received a silver medal, added “we undoubtedly made some noise this yr … It was an honour to be a part of it.”
The athletes additionally included 12-year-olds Weston Dirksen, Dalhia Johnson and Kieran Romanowski, and 11-year-old stepsisters Taylor Krueger and Kennedy Ray.
“We’ve some superb coaches right here,” Barbossa stated, noting she was very nervous forward of the Nationals, March 31 to April 2, however coaches ready the athletes properly and helped them keep focussed.
She stated successful gold felt “unbelievable, it was fairly the sensation.
“It’s a special expertise, being within the ring,” she stated.
“I assumed it was a reasonably shut struggle, so when that hand obtained raised it was like an ‘I did it’ second.”
Barbossa has been kickboxing on and off for about eight years – since she was 21.
“I did Muay Thai earlier than,” she added, “however not competitively.”
She stated she loves kickboxing as a result of “it’s an awesome stress reduction; actually zens me out.”
The game is “so technical and calculated,” she added. “It’s a tremendous sport; actually develops you as an individual.”
She stated she particularly loves the “psychological and psyche a part of it,” and “serving to the youthful members perceive successful isn’t the top all be all, it’s getting out into the ring and going through your fears.”
Barbossa stated she skilled for months previous to the Pan American Championships final November, after which centered on making ready for the Canadian Kickboxing Nationals, March 31 to April 2.
A part of the preparation included dropping a weight class, she famous, and he or she employed a nutritionist from Rise Fight to assist her accomplish that.
There’s a global competitors developing that Barbossa is debating whether or not or not she needs to compete in.
For Hart, who has been kickboxing “recreationally for about two years now,” the Canadian Nationals was his first struggle, so he stated he had “a number of nerves for positive.
“I’m the previous man within the group,” he stated with fun, noting kickboxing “got here so much later with age for me.”
Hart made it to the finals however couldn’t compete because of an damage to his stomach.
“I’m nonetheless in restoration,” Hart famous.
He stated he feels he has “some unfinished enterprise” – and as soon as he’s healed up his objective is evident: to win gold.
“I want that belt,” he stated.
Hart added he’s “at all times loved fight sports activities” and kickboxing was one thing he at all times wished to do, but it surely was exhausting to make the time whereas working and elevating a household.
He finally determined to begin kickboxing along with his coworker Barbossa, as a result of he “wished to do it earlier than I obtained too previous,” he stated.
Hart stated it’s been a “enjoyable journey” for him and Barbossa “to help one another by work and on the fitness center as properly.”
Hart stated kickboxing is “nice for psychological well being and creating friendships.”
He famous the game is “usually seen as a person endeavour, however we have now an unbelievable staff right here, with everybody at all times supporting each other. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the group.
Romanowski, Dirksen, Johnson, Krueger and Ray all admitted to feeling nervous main as much as the Nationals.
Dirksen stated it was hectic “having so many individuals watching you,” and Johnson added it’s overwhelming, and “you don’t wish to lose as a result of you’ll really feel embarrassed.”
Earlier than her struggle Ray “considered all of the ways in which I might fall as a result of the mats have been so slippery.” Throughout her struggle she “truly didn’t fall, however there have been occasions I assumed I’d.”
Krueger stated the lead-up was hectic, however as soon as she “obtained in there and began to struggle, you zone out the gang.”
Romanowski, who lives in Mount Forest, stated he received his first struggle at Nationals by unanimous resolution, however obtained an ear an infection that prompted his eardrum to burst so he was not capable of proceed competing.
Romanowski stated he has been kickboxing for 4 years, and took half in taekwondo for 4 years earlier than that.
Dirksen, who got here residence from Nationals with a gold belt, stated he received his first struggle by unanimous resolution too, received his second struggle when his opponent was disqualified, after which received the third struggle by unanimous resolution once more. He felt “very, very glad” after his success.
Dirksen lives outdoors of Harriston and has been kickboxing for simply six months, although he too did taekwondo for six years earlier than that.
“I wished to attempt one thing totally different,” he stated of switching sports activities.
Johnson, who lives in Conn, received her first struggle at Nationals, after which misplaced her second when she obtained a damaged nostril, strolling away from the competitors with a bronze medal.
For Johnson, her favorite issues concerning the sport are assembly new individuals and touring, whereas Dirksen and Ray don’t benefit from the travelling in any respect.
Krueger misplaced her first struggle, noting within the second spherical she and her opponent saved going “backwards and forwards.”
Ray received her first struggle and misplaced the second, reaching a silver medal.
Krueger and Ray each reside in Mount Forest, ten homes away from one another.
They’ve each been kickboxing for 2 years, since Ray’s brother (Krueger’s stepbrother) satisfied them to present it a attempt.
“My brother made me do it,” Ray stated with fun. “And I didn’t assume I would love it, however I do.”
For Johnson, who has been kickboxing for 5 months, she determined to begin as a result of “it stood out in entrance of all the opposite sports activities,” she stated, noting it was “extra fascinating.”
Dirksen stated he likes the game as a result of “I like punching individuals,” and the way it allows him to “hit individuals and never get in bother.”
Krueger agrees – she likes “hitting individuals and sparring.”
Ray added “I like that I can hit somebody with no motive,” noting she doesn’t dislike the individuals she’s hitting and “they don’t thoughts” being hit.