Reflections on 2023

Reflecting on 2023 I am filled with many emotions. I feel gratitude to the incredible team around me, on and off the mats. There is a sense of pride in our accomplishments the year. This year has been both exciting and challenging but isn’t that just the way life is supposed to be!

Fife Kickboxing celebrates it’s 20th birthday next year and though the exact date of our first class is lost to history we will use all of 2024 to celebrate this achievement. Expect a few exciting announcements.

Fife Kickboxing & Self Defence Academy was established in 2004 with the founders Charles Shanks, Lindsay Gray and Craig Reid. As the sole remaining founding member I am filled with pride and a deep sense of responsibility to be in a position to guide our team and the direction of the club. We will share more on the club history through the year.

This year we expanded into the adjacent business unit, doubling the available floor space. We expanded the waiting room space for parents and moved into our own office and meeting space. The extra training space allowed us to relocate the Teens Kickboxing from the High School back in-house and to open two new evening KickFit fitness classes. Training Room 3 has also helped us host lots of extra gradings on a Saturday which previously would have been impossible.

This year we added five new Dan Grade Black Belts to our ranks in separate tests in February and October. Congratulations to Jamie Irvine, Leighton Bruce, Kariss McGrouther, Lisa Eadie and Vickie de Vries. The club has now helped 43 individuals earn their Black Belt over the space of 20 years.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our members and work alongside great people. Vickie and Derryn have been rock solid supports throughout the year working so hard on the mats and behind the scenes. It is the collective effort of our entire club, including our instructors, coaches, customer service assistants, fundraising committee, and our incredible members that make Fife Kickboxing a great place to train and to work.

With the kids classes getting really busy we expanded the team both on and off the mats by adding Kids Instructors and Teen Customer Service Assistants roles. Lisa, Tricia, Ildiko and Garry joined the instructor team teaching our younger students and have made a really positive contribution to the classes. Sophie’s passion for the competitive side of the sport has led her to become involved in the kids sparring classes and competitions and she’s been such a motivating and encouraging presence. I should also mention Chelsea who just volunteered to help out and has found herself in a red teeshirt as a Class Assistant on Saturday mornings probably more often than she anticipated – thank you!

Thank you to Ruby, Connoll, Katy and Charlotte for being a welcoming face on the reception and serving our members with such a positive attitude.

Thank you to all the other Instructors and Coaches for their passion, energy and fantastic work on the mats throughout the year. Lorna, Andy, Jamie Mc, Stevie, Jamie I, Susan, Finlay, Logan, Ruby, Sam, Samuel, Malcolm, Roni, April, Lucie and Callum: you guys are amazing!

Change and growth is exciting but it can also be stressful. Morag chose to leave her role this year and her absence through the summer was a difficult time and I thank everyone for their support. People come into our lives at a particular time and we should cherish and enjoy that time together. We are not meant to stay the same. Muhammad Ali said that, “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” Sometimes paths diverge and that’s okay. What’s most important is that we acknowledge and be truthful of what’s happening.

Towards the end of the year we added our Saturday morning Mixed Age class allowing families to train together in a class that we feel reflects our focus on family and martial arts for everybody.

It’s been a pleasure to coach the fight team throughout the year. We have such a great team and their support and encouragement towards each other is second to none. We struggled with scheduling and coaching cover but in spite of that the team won 24 Gold, 17 Silver and 16 Bronze medal over 7 Competitions. Well done team!

As we see out 2023 and welcome in the promise of an exciting year in 2024, I want to extend my warmest wishes to each and every one of you. May this year bring you good health, vitality and wellness. Let good fortune cross your path, bringing much joy and success in all your endeavours. From the auld Scottish wisdom, I say, “Lang May Yer Lum Reek” – symbolising a warm home and a long life filled with continuous blessings. Here’s to us!

Best wishes,
Sensei Craig