BKO Review of 2013 By Paul Corio
2013 has been a very successful year for BKO and its members. Here are some of the highlights…
January kicked off 2013 in awesome style for BKO as in Ron Peploe was crowned the British WAKO champion.
BKO attended the biggest international event of the kickboxing calendar in February at the Irish Open with Ron Peploe, Deb Peploe, Charisse Peploe, Philippa Peploe, George Peploe (yes, lots of Peploes) and Heather Chilcott all competing and putting in some impressive performances both on the mat and in the pub drinking Guinness.
In April Craig Ashford, George Peploe and Steve O’Grady took on the challenge of Tough Mudder, a 10 mile assault course which includes fire, ice and even electrocution among a course of obstacles designed by Special Forces soldiers. The boys stuck together and got around in a very respectable 4 hours.
In May the WAKO British Squad came calling at BKO inviting Ron and George Peploe into the training squad for the 2013 European Championships in Greece and the World Championships in Brazil. Although Ron and George didn’t make it to the final squad, we suspect they will get further invitations in 2014.
July saw the Green and Purple belt gradings take place with some fantastic personal displays of great fighting, grit and determination. This was on one of the hottest days of the year with temperatures on the mat reaching in excess of 95 degrees and gradings taking just over 3.5 hours to complete. Needless to say it was challenging, exhausting, sometimes painful and emotional, however everyone showed tremendous character to come away with their belts.
In October and November BKO welcomed 2 classes of beginners who braved a six week course of training, culminating in their achieving their red belts. It’s great to see so many new faces at the club training and working hard, well done to all who stuck at it!
The 8th November saw 2000 Spartan Warriors descend on Pippingford Park in West Sussex for the Reebok Spartan Race Beast, including BKO’s Craig Ashford, Stu Roshier and Michael Skeats. The Spartan Race Beast is the grand finale of the obstacle racing season attracting competitors from all over the UK and Europe and comprises a 11+ mile muddy trek through countryside tracks, up hills, through lakes, mud holes and several obstacles such as monkey bars, the ice pit, fire jump, Hercules lift and a 20m rope climb before being battered with pugil sticks while crossing the finishing line. Despite the added challenge of torrential rain and an average temperature of 9 degrees made worse by a biting southern wind which saw many competitors succumb to hyperthermia, the lads got round the course in just over 4 and a half hours each. There was even some time on the way round to bust out some dance moves and throw in a couple of spin kicks. If BKO had been around in 400BC, I don’t think the Persians would have stood a chance!
November also saw the final CIMAC Superleague of the season with Steve O’Grady being named Grand Champion in the Executive Category after 7 tournaments throughout the year. Ron Peploe also placed in the same category. Also placing well overall were heather Chilcott in the Novice Ladies section, George Peploe in the Senior Men Under 75kg section and Andy Partridge in the Intermediate Men Over 75kg Section.
Fight Night on 7th November in Andover saw Steve O’Grady, Heather Chilcott and Nev Norval representing BKO. Just to set the scene, this is different to normal club and tournament fighting as it takes place at a rival club, on their mat, in front of a large crowd and can be a daunting challenge. This was Nev’s first ever tournament and after a cagey start, overcame his nerves, found his blitz and broke down his opponent beautifully to come away with the win. Heather too overcame her nerves early on to put in a cool and measured performance, again coming away with the win. Steve had a very tough fight with an experienced opponent, which was exciting and at times emotional with both fighters digging deep and giving their all. Unfortunately Steve just lost out on points, however is guaranteed to come back stronger than ever for his next fight.
On 13th December BKO invaded the Skewers pub for our Christmas meal and a cracking night of Caribbean food, a few drinks (just a few) and awards given out; the highlights included Heather Chilcott winning ‘fighter of the year’, Andy Partridge winning ‘student of the year’ and Jamie Smyth winning the much sought after ‘injury of the year’ award. I’m also told that a few of our more insane members braved their hangovers and went to Steve’s Saturday class the next morning…nutters!
Ending the year on a high was Tom Wilson and Dan Kipping who after 2 nights of demonstrating attack and defence techniques and 19 rounds of fighting, including 2 rounds of full contact fighting achieved their black belts. This is a fantastic and hard earned achievement which is the culmination of many years training and ultimately what we are all aiming for as kick boxers. Rob Rivers and Rhys Clarke also achieved their brown belts.
A special mention must also go to the BKO kids class who have also worked exceptionally hard, attending many tournaments and coming away with a bumper haul of trophies this year. If you’ve ever seen any of the kids in action you will know the class is producing an amazing sqaud of young fighters, many of whom could easily give the adults a run for their money and some will no doubt be training with us adults very soon.
All in all 2013 has been a great year for BKO and everyone involved in the club. They key to why BKO is such a strong club is its people. It doesn’t matter if you’re winning tournaments, achieving gradings or starting out, everybody contributes something unique to the team, which means 2014 looks set to be another great year which everybody should be looking forward to. We have lots of tournaments including the Irish Open in February, Superleague starting again in March, more beginners classes, plus lots of gradings coming up throughout the year to train hard for.
Keep checking the BKO Facebook page and here on the website for regular updates, or make sure you turn up regularly for class!
Here’s hoping everyone had a great Christmas and has a Happy New Year…See you in all January!