Chris Boughey is a well respected martial artist who has competed with and against some of the best there has ever been. He is the founder and Chief Instructor of North West Chinese Kickboxing (NWCKB) and has over thirty years of training and teaching in the martial arts.
Chris has been acknowledged as one of the country’s best heavyweight fighters, having represented his country both nationally and internationally, notching up over one hundred competitive bouts. Chris was also a founder member of the now legendary fighting squad 'The Warriors' who took on every challenge in their own inimitable way.
We caught up with Chris to discuss the past, present, and future of martial arts.
"Let's just say in the UK we don't have a shortage of talent."
- Chris Boughey
MAO - Hi Chris, you've been around martial arts a long time, we'd like to know how much you think UK martial arts has changed since you started in 1977?
CB - Accessibility I feel has been the biggest change. The martial arts are now a massive part of the fitness industry. They are widely accepted in schools and universities across the country. All leisure facilities now offer a huge selection of systems and styles.
I started training in 1977 in my home town. We had one Judo and two Karate clubs, Wado and Shotokan. On my last visit there are now clubs offering Systema, Krav Maga, Aikido, BJJ, Escrima, JKD, Thai Boxing and probably more that I missed!
I do think that to have a lot of choice is a good thing. If it encourages the public to improve themselves physically and mentally then that has to be good.
MAO - How do you anticipate the martial arts scene changing over the next few years?
CB - Unfortunately, I see the martial arts in years to come becoming very fragmented.
Everyone seems to be running their own tournament series at the moment. I can only see even more world bodies appearing and running yet another World Championships!
I think lots of franchising opportunities will appear and it will become more difficult for people to access affordable, professional training.
MAO - Point fighting seems to be going from strength to strength in terms of popularity, what do you put this down to?
CB - I think Points Fighting and also Light Continuous (Light Contact) are rising in popularity due to the number of tournaments available to enter.
Back when I was competing, it was extremely difficult to find open events. It was also very rare that we were allowed to enter ‘karate’ competitions. For young fighters today, they can travel the world competing.
How good is that.
MAO - What do you think makes a successful points fighter?
CB - Very simple. Hard graft.
MAO - There seems to be progress in bringing Kickboxing to the Olympics by WAKO, is this something you consider a possibility?
CB - If any of the world bodies can manage it I’d say WAKO has the best shot. They are a very well organised association and it certainly seems that all the countries involved support each other.
In a nutshell, yes. Watch this space.
MAO - Who do you currently consider the top Kickboxer's in the UK? And why?
CB - Now that is going to be very hard to answer!
Plus, if I do then at the next tournament I’m at, I’ll have loads of fighters asking why I didn't mention them!!
Let's just say in the UK we don't have a shortage of talent…
MAO - And how are things going for NWCKB? Are there any particular fighters we should know about?
CB - At the moment we are re-structuring the squad, we are planning on streamlining it to 20-30 fighters.
It's fair to say that it’s relatively easy nowadays to qualify to compete at world level. At NWCKB we don't allow our fighters to compete until we think they are ready.
This year we will be attending the WKKC World Championships which will be in Dublin. We will only take 10 fighters from NWCKB. To us it's always been about quality and not quantity.
MAO - What other kickboxing 'clubs' have impressed you?
CB - Now I have to stress that this is in no particular order!
There are some great clubs throughout the UK and in particular I have been impressed with, BCKA, DSA, ACMA, X Martial Arts, Hurricane Combat and Mushin Kai.
This is just a small selection.
MAO - Lau Gar has been acknowledged as the 'start' of combat training for some extremely successful martial artists (Michael Page, Alfie Lewis, Marcus Lewis, Tony Bellew, Alex Barrowman and yourself plus more). What does 'Lau Gar' have that brings these results?
CB - Master Jeremy Yau was my instructor for many years, but I believe it was the likes of Steve Babbs, Frank Lynch, Nev Wray and the rest of the famous Lau A team that made Lau Gar famous. These guys constantly put themselves on the line at numerous open competitions and that doesn’t go un-noticed.
As for your question, a typical Lau Gar session consisted of fitness, conditioning, basics, forms and then LOTS AND LOTS OF SPARRING.
There was a real emphasis on competing. Great days.
MAO - Thanks Chris for talking to martialarts-online.co.uk
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