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IKF USA National Amateur Kickboxing Championship Page

September 7-9, 2001 Kansas City, KS

My debut into the world of fighting started in the proverbial deep end. Some of the best amateur kickboxers were at this tournament. I fight a style called International Leg-kick. This allows for the fighters to land a punch or kick anywhere on the body except for the groin and knees. There were 4 women in the lightweight (128lbs-132lbs) category. We fought on Saturday to determine who would advance to the finals on Sunday.
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This is my trainer, Philip. At each fight, the gloves are provided for each fighter. This assures that the equipment is correct and consistant. The hand wraps we wore had to be checked and approved before we could pick up our gloves for the match. Once on, the laces have to be completely covered with athletic tape. From this point on, until the fight is over I can't use my hands much.
Note of thanks to Philip. He trained me even when I talk back to him and complain. I wouldn't have come near as far as I have without his expertise.
Here we are at the beginning of the first match on Saturday. The ref comes over to each fighter in the corner and checks that the gloves are on correctly, that the head gear is regulation, that each fighter has a mouthguard, and that the shin guards are up to standards and secure. He says to us "listen and obey my comands at all times and protect yourself at all times."
Here we go! My opponent is Katie Jo Reyes from California. Right away you can see that the girl is a bit larger than me. I am currently 5'3" and I weighed in at 130lbs (with my shoes on) . She was listed as 5'5" and 132lbs. Oddly enough none of the pictures I have on disk show me kicking her but I did get her in the head about 3 good times. Also, though, I got in some good hits. This being my first fight I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea how I was doing. The fight was 3-2 minute rounds with a minute rest inbetween. I think I began to tire halfway through the first round but you'd never know it. She looked more tired than I. There was even a point in the 3rd round where she backed off and droped her hands for a bit of a rest. I will tell you that this was by far the toughest thing I have ever done in my life.
But...as you can see, it was all worth it. At the end of 4 months of sweat, bruises, and tears, 4 months of 2-a-day workouts, many miles run, many laps swam (swum?), I am the winner!
Did I mention that the family came out to see it all? Yes, Mom, Dad, Nanny, Uncle Greg and Tim (not pictured) flew in from all corners of the country to check out my newest obsession. Thanks to Dad for videotaping, Mom for the pictures and everyone for supporting me. I love you all.

What did they think, you ask? They had a great time and saw more kickboxing than they ever thought they would in their lives. Do you think they know that it's far from over? Stay tuned.

Here's the final fight on Sunday. This girl is Rebecca Mahin from Wisconsin. She was listed as 5'4" and 132lbs. I was more nervous for this fight after how tough my match was the day before. I swear that all the nervous tension made me tired even before I stepped into the ring. I can only hope that she feels the same way.
So here are finally some pictures of me kicking (although I must kick too fast to be caught of film). We both fought valiently and hard. We were pretty well matched. So well matched that the end came down to a split decision. That means that out of the 3 judges, they weren't unanimous on who they thought won. Unfortunately only one of the judges thought it was me. Therefore, I did not get the win. I am though, 2nd place in the nation! And Rebecca, I'll see you next year.
This is my teammate and sparring partner, Kathy. She fights in a style they call Full Contact (which is a misnomer because in this style you are not allowed to kick your opponent below the waist). It's identified by the fighters wearing pants instead of shorts. Kathy fought hard but was out reached by facing an opponent that was 9 inches taller than her. It's hard to get in to punch someone when they are kicking you away in the stomach with long, long legs. I am so grateful to Kathy for training with me and pushing me along when I'm tired. She's a great friend.
These are some more fighters from the Atlanta area. The gentleman waving on the left is Mr. Dennis Palmer. His school, Palmer Kickboxing, is where I went a few times to spar with his fighters. This is Kurt getting wrapped for his fight on Sunday. The photo on the right is Teri after she broke her nose in her first match. She won it but you can imagine that it made it pretty difficult to fight the next match with an already broken nose. She's leaning on Robbie who also won on Saturday to advance to the finals. Like me, this was Robbie's first fight.
Last but not least, are the kids from Hard Knocks Gym in Phoenix. They are (left to right), Sasha 15, Alyssa 9, Dougie 13, and Brooke 12. All 4 of them are national champions! We hope to see them again and again.
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Also, a special "Hi" to my friend Dave in California.