Talking Bout My Generation – Combat Sports Newcastle 2014
For Fightstorepro and my staff 2014 has been a year of change and challenge but as its drawing to a close and with some of the events of the past year finally being laid out behind us and the benefit of a perspective only gained after a little time has gone by I started thinking about how the Newcastle Combat Sports Scene has really started to come together and in a way how many of the people I’ve been around for a very long time have been instrumental in this; key figures; Doers; people with some vision and courage that is beginning to make our region a real centre for the sports we all love. Please read on; But if I have missed someone important then in advance I apologise but this article is about my generation and the people I have had around me for a long time who have played their part in building what I believe will be one of the strongest centres for the combat sports of Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai and Kimono Sports in the UK. Ours…. The North East of England.
Personally I got involved in Martial Arts at the age of 17 and dabbled in a few but it was a little over ten years later that my training took on meaning after I met up with a bunch of guys that in many ways changed my life and individually many have since helped changed the face of the North East Fight Scene. As time has gone on I have realised its not just my group but my whole generation who have carved out a scene in our region to be proud of so if this article is a little bit of a congratulatory, pat on the back for a bunch of people….well so be it.
Ten years ago the scene was splintered with my group and many others having to search for anywhere to train, many of our guys forced to go abroad often for months at a time to get the right knowledge, very few interclubs, we were travelling across the country for small competitions even for grappling or minor inter clubs, the only store that sold any equipment at all was Title in Sunderland and that was neither ideal or what we needed, getting a BJJ Gi would mean buying from Brazil or finding someone who’d just been, every combat sport was separated with a grand divide only a few pioneers like John Atkin of the AFC and Dave Elliot of Gracie Barra & Ian “The Machine” Freeman were teaching any real “Cross Training”. How different it is now!
In the last few years we have seen an absolute explosion in talent and the fruition of the hard work many people have put in; that shackles of some of the combat sports dinosaurs put to bed and the emergence of a new group of people who are inclusive not exclusive.
So let’s name names and celebrate the work done by many of our Regions hard workers, achievers and pioneers who have helped transform the local scene and turn it into something that everyone in the area are benefiting from; it’s not in order, it’s not an all inclusive list and it will almost certainly have missed some really talented people out but all the same..
Well done in 2014 to….
Alex Enlund , winning a prestigious CWFC belt on home turf and turning the attention of the UK to the North East Region, Mickey Tirrell representing North East Kickboxing at the top level in Europe on the Superkombat promotion.
Jimmy Burns and Craig Jose who have turned Newcastle into a centre for Muay Thai that simply was not there ten years ago; something that is not just for the benefit of those who run it but benefits the whole community.
Ross Pearson and Andy Ogle for representing the North East of England in the world’s top MMA event the UFC .
To Steven Scott and Dale Percival at Made 4 the Cage for working their nuts off to create platform for North East Talent to refine their talent in what is now a showcase North East MMA event which rivals any in the UK.
Kennedy Freeman for representing the many talented female fighters of the North East and showing that the one of the UK’s top MMA Pioneers has also developed a great centre for Combat Sports in Durham.
Lewis and Ronnie at Fighting Chance Promotions who have created a modern boxing platform which will rival any in the UK, Newcastle might finally have a boxing scene that is inclusive and considers itself part of the Combat Sports Newcastle Community not apart from it and promises to produce athletes that will produce titles and exposure for Newcastle Boxers that has not been seen in many years.
Peter Irving for sharing the knowledge of thousands of miles of travel and years of hardship and for being instrumental in creating a whole new generation of talented North East MMA Fighters making links all over the world as well as the UK. The North East Scene would not have been so strong without him.
David Weild who created an accessible venue for North East Combat Sports in NE6
To Jon Paul at Badboy for Bringing a superstar like Alexander Gustafferson to the North East and inspiring the next generation of fighters.
Shaj Haque, Kyle Redfern, Andrew Fisher, Travis and Jon Dickenson, Andrew Buchanan, Ellis Younger, Kirk Goodings, Kurt Warburton, Colin Fletcher, Ian Malone, Tyrone Elliot, Reece Macallister for representing the region at a high level in their respective disciplines.
To the memory of our friend and team mate Gav Bradley; Sadly missed.
And finally to all my staff at Fightstorepro & MMA Newcastle who have worked really hard this year to create a space in the centre of our region where North East Combat Sports can come together, share ideas and information and build a real community.
Lets see this grow in 2015!