Xen-Do Student Andy Saville – Survival of the fittest!

Xen-Do Kickboxing and Martial Arts students come from all backgrounds with many interests. Andy Saville is passionate about Kickboxing and Ultra running and here describes how each combine to inspire him.

“I love Kick Boxing. In the list of my favorite hobbies it comes a very, very close second to Ultra Running (and the fact that I actually only have two hobbies on my list should in no way lead you to other conclusions!)

“So I love Kick Boxing and I love Ultra Running – and during a 184 mile race in August when after 46 hrs of running without rest I clearly saw Sensei Denise carried down the centre of the River Thames borne joyfully upon the sombreros of a dancing Mexican Mariachi band (all playing to her tune,) I started to wonder what exactly it is I love about these two sports and whether they complement or compete with each other?

“On the surface they could not be more different. One involves running away. The other facing your opponent head on. To watch two black belts spar is enthralling, whereas the only thing duller than watching the start of a 184 mile race… is watching the end of a 184 mile race. To be a good kick boxer requires grace, quick thinking and flexibility. Ultra-running stiffens your legs and trains you to think of nothing.

“But there are certain similarities too. During a race you have to be able to endure…anything from loss of toe nails, spider size blisters and kidney shut-down….to hyponatremia, hypothermia, night blindness and (my old favourite) nipple chafing! If you are lucky enough to spar a round or two with Sensei Alex…you pretty much have to endure the same thing (give or take the nipple chafing!)

“At the end of a 184 mile race you feel like you have been run over by a long-distance lorry. At the end of a 40 min spar session with Sensei Alex you feel like you have been run over by a McLaren P1! (The end result is the same…just one is over more quickly and with rather more panache!)

“For me the two sports go together perfectly. The fast and furious nature of kick boxing training is a fantastic balancing workout to the hours of solitary pavement pounding ultra running demands – and the fitness I gain from each contributes enormously to my performance in the other sport.

“But what I love most about both sports, and where I see them as very similar in nature, is that both of them are about endurance and testing and training the strength of your own spirit. Can there be anything more noble than to try? Success or failure matters of course…I race to win…but actually it’s not what is important. (Which is lucky…because I always lose!)

“I once asked my running coach what I was supposed to do in a race when I could no longer move my legs, my whole body screamed in pain with every juddering step – and I still had over 40 miles to run. His answer was “survive!”

“I once asked Sensei Alex what I was really supposed to do in a sparring session against him or someone else which in a million years I could not hope to win. His answer was “survive!”

So I guess that is why I do it and that is why I get so much out of both sports. I like to see how well I can endure…and if I can survive…” Andy Saville

This article is based on opinion:
– the author is not a qualified doctor or anyone who can dispense medical advice.
– any opinions stated are just that and people should consult a doctor before making any dietary changes or changes of any nature prompted by the articles published by or on behalf of Xen-Do.
– under 16’s please obtain parental permission before posting anything online.
– any opinions stated are that of the author and do not represent the opinions of Xen-Do.

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