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Senior Operations Manager Richard cuff shares his passion for kickboxing with the Yorkshire Post

Our Senior Operations Manager Richard Cuff featured in the Yorkshire Post business pages this week, sharing his passion for mixed martial arts. Read the full article here.

Kickboxing is a great way to keep fit and loosen up after a hard day at work. It is a mix between karate and boxing and is practised as self-defence, for fitness, and as a combat sport.

Martial arts, in many forms, has been part of my life from an early age, starting with Judo, then Karate, Wing-Chun, Aikido, Tae-Kwon-do and finally settling down with Kickboxing, which merges two disciplines into one fighting style. I joined Elemental Kickboxing Academy in 2009, becoming a 2nd Dan Black Belt by 2015. Over the years I’ve competed in multiple tournaments, sometimes successfully, and in 2016 I won the Revolutions English Champion Tournament.

My inspiration for getting into martial arts was initially my parents, who are life-long fans and encouraged me to practice multiple styles. I grew up watching all the Bruce Lee films and Jackie Chan movies; Bruce Lee especially was an inspiration to me, and he remains an iconic juggernaut in the martial arts world. His method and teaching helped shape what martial arts stands for today.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is ever-evolving due to UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Glory, K1 and so on, and it’s been amazing to see new techniques perfected and fighting styles advance over the past 30 years.

My favourite part, perhaps, is that it’s not about learning every technique but perfecting your own style and ability. It also teaches you a lot more than simply physical skills. Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot of de-escalation techniques that MMA teaches as well as fighting styles. Those de-escalation communication skills have proven more valuable throughout my career in the security section. Most incidents should be able to be resolved without physical intervention, good verbal communication is key, and MMA gives you the confidence to handle most day-to-day situations that occur in the security industry.

I was given the opportunity to instruct on a regular basis in 2013 and was fortunate that my workplace headquarters was next to the kickboxing club. Easy teaching and easy training meant no excuses!

I instruct a mixed ability class where, each week, we focus on technique work, strength conditioning, pad work, shadow boxing, point fighting, semi-contact and stretching practises. Stretching is key to improve ability and reduce injury. The Wednesday class is renowned for its jumping techniques, especially the elemental elbow! Squats are key and we often create squat challenges for a bit of fun and to push us to our limits to increase leg strength. My favourite techniques are the Axe kick, Tornado kick and Spinning Jumping Side kick. For fun we do mix it up and we sometimes even do a form of Mongolian Wrestling.

Joining a Kickboxing Club is an excellent place to meet a range of people that have come to learn and have fun. Some of my Gough & Kelly work colleagues have joined the club throughout the years, including their children and partners, which helps build a great team spirit. I am proud to be able to inspire people to take up kickboxing and share my passion for the sport with them. I know it will give them a variety of skills that will benefit them in everyday life.

Kickboxing is a fantastic martial art that teaches you self-control, harnesses your ability while increasing your flexibility, cardio and strength. I’ll be fighting and teaching for as long as I am able; and always very happy to take on new recruits to the world of MMA!

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