Sports Interview Series – Kickboxing

In this series of articles, Kent Sport marketing volunteers Alicia Sanctuary and Tana Navaratnalingam, will interview a range of sport players from the variety of different sports offered at Kent Sport, all at different ability levels. The interviews will consist of questions on the reasons why they chose their desired sport, what their ultimate sport goals are and how Kent Sport has helped them be successful in their sport.

Watch the video of the interview by clicking here.


The first in the Sports Interview series is Kickboxing. Kickboxing is a group of stand up combat sports based on kicking and punching, developed from karate, Muy Thai and Western Boxing. There are two types of Kickboxing: Japanese kickboxing and Western kickboxing.

The University of Kent Kickboxing Club welcomes people of all skill levels, from people who have never kicked anything in their lives to people who grew up with a martial arts background. The classes will teach you the basic principles of kickboxing and also provide an opportunity for students to compete in tournaments across the country. The UKC Kickboxing Club is also suitable for the non – competitive type, as it will provide you with great functional fitness training as well as some self-defence skills and boosts confidence.

In this interview, interviewed by Alicia, we hear Emily Axford, the President of UKC Kickboxing Club, share her sports background, her ultimate kickboxing goals and how Kent Sport has helped them be successful in kickboxing, along with other questions. Read the interview below:

Alicia: Where are you originally from?

Emily: Essex

Alicia: Why did you choose University of Kent?

Emily: It was close to home but not too close. There are good facilities available here, especially in sports.

Alicia: What sports have you participated in at Kent?

Emily: I was originally playing badminton, but then I progressed to do kickboxing.

Alicia: How many years have done Kickboxing?

Emily: I first started in my second year, but then I started attending more regularly to the sessions.

Alicia: Why did you choose kickboxing?

Emily: Honestly I have always had very strong legs and I thought I might as well put these to use! I am quite short and like walking everywhere, so I have strong leg muscles. So I thought ‘Oh I can do something with my legs’ as they are my strongest part and then I thought ‘Kickboxing… it has got kicking in it!’ and obviously that is why I joined! I was good because I had the natural strong kick, so yes, that is why I chose to do it.

Alicia: What is your biggest accomplishment in the time you have been doing kickboxing?

Emily: Well, I completed in the National University Kickboxing Championships last year.

Alicia: How did it go?

Emily: It went quite well! It was quite a small group of girls that in my weight class that I was competing with, in the beginner level, but it was really good. I think the fact that you can compete at a beginners level, at such a national tournament is really good. I won my first fight and lost my second fight so I was, technically, in the semi final.

Alicia: So is that county level then?

Emily: No, it is all the universities in the UK have an opportunity to compete, so it is an inter – university level championship. It ranged from beginner to advanced.

Alicia: How has Kent Sport helped you achieve your success in kickboxing?

Emily: A lot with all the facilities they have got, the amount of kit we have got to order; we have got all these supplies. The regular training times we are allowed to have, which is three time a weeks. We had 6 hours a week of training last year, before the championships, which immensely helped me. My first competition was in November and then by the Kickboxing Championships, I was so much better, which was about 4 – 5 months later.

Alicia: Where do you train in the Sports Centre?

Emily: We train in the sports halls and upstairs on the sport balcony, but we don’t really need… we can train anywhere because we have got the equipment that can move with us, which is good.

Alicia: Are there a lot of you?

Emily: We have at the moment 125 members approximately and we are recruiting even more since Refreshers fair!

Alicia: So you don’t stop recruiting after Freshers fair?

Emily: No, people join throughout the year because it is quite easy to catch up at a beginners level, in the beginner classes and they can try out the class before they buy the membership.

Alicia: Are there any addition to the facilities here that you would like to see in future?

Emily: We had an online petition last year for a dojo to be built.

Alicia: What is a dojo?

Emily: A dojo is place where martial artists can train. So it has got softer floors and a matted area, so you can more throws, because we do some sweeps, where it is all standing up but in martial arts is all fall work. I believe there is a new Parkwood building that is going to be built and that can have some spring floor, which can be really useful for martial arts, so that is being made now.

Alicia: So that was in response to your petition?

Emily: Yeah, I think that really helped it move along so hopefully that would be really useful in future.

Alicia: What has been your biggest challenge/ setback while doing kickboxing?

Emily: Maybe the two times I got contact lenses pushes out of my eye, during training! But, I don’t really know. I have had a lot of great opportunity here, great coaches… you are prone to injuries [in this sport] so it is quite bad but I haven’t got injured in competitions; only in contact sparring, so, you know, it is kind of give and take there.

Alicia: What would be your ultimate sports achievement?

Emily: To have more members competing would be great at any level, so even beginners, they feel more confident, done a bit of sparring, one to one. So all the members of different levels competing would be great!

Alicia: How does participation in sport benefit other areas of life?

Emily: It has benefited me as I have increased my self-confidence and determination in other aspects of life.

Alicia: Would you recommend this sport to others? Why?

Emily: I would definitely recommend this sport as it keeps you toned and increases your self confidence and awareness.

Alicia: Thank you for coming along today and participating in this interview.


To find more interesting articles and updates such as the Sports interview Series, follow Kent Sport at UniKentSport on Facebook or Twitter!


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