Club Focus: Lau Gar Kickboxing

Boasting a membership of over 100 people, the UCD Lau Gar Kickboxing club is one of the most popular martial arts on campus. They cater for a wide range of interests and levels, from beginners to advanced. The club particularly welcomes beginners at the start of each term, but you can also join at any time of the year as senior members of the club will be on hand to help you catch up to what level you would like to reach.

Image Credit: Catherine J Bailey Flickr

The code is based onthe traditional Chinese Lau Gar syllabus, with a wide variety of optionsavailable for members to get involved in. Kickboxing, sparring and self-defenceclasses are regularly on offer for members but significantly, fighting is notmandatory with plenty of alternatives available to utilise. These optionsinclude circuit training, partner work and locks. Each session on offer alsoincludes opportunities to improve your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness thatalso provides a chance to improve one’s flexibility.

Behind every club is astrong team – and that is no different at the UCD Lau Gar Kickboxing Club. Clubcaptain Mark Cullen will arguably take much of the limelight, but he iscertainly helped in so small hand by his team around him. Secretary Colm Magee,Treasurer Róisín Lande,Senior Treasurer Chris Quinn, who is also the club’s first aid officer. OCM’sDylan Kierans and Charles Kelly also help with the smooth running of theoperation. Last, but certainly not least is PRO and Ents Officer Lavinia DeVito.

Keeping in tandem with a high number of beginners joiningthe sport within the Belfield Sport Halls – Lavinia relates to how many startjoining the sport in UCD when she spoke to the University Observer; “It’s like kickboxing I suppose. If you hit the head you get themost points, if you manage to hit your opponents from under the stomach there’sno points or if you don’t get points if you hit the back of your opponent.

“It’s very much a sport based onwhat the referee sees. If you touch them or if you think they touched them. Youcan get points without getting counted or you can get points even if you don’ttouch your opponent.

“This year we’re having our secondannual inter-club competition which is actually going to be geared towardsbeginners. We have a lot of new people in the club who have never triedkickboxing before and it’s actually quite easy to pick up. It’s a good workoutand intensity even if you don’t want to do any fighting or anything like that.

“You can develop and improve in thesport quite quickly. I tried other clubs and I wanted something more intensefor an exercise and I ended up giving that a go and I really liked it and hereI am!”

The club will also be given asignificant boost this year as their main sparring coach will return after ayear’s sabbatical on September 30th. As mentioned previously, peopleof all levels and interests are welcome to join the club – with the morebeginners joining the club the better. The scope for getting involved is fairlyrelaxed in all arenas as there is no great emphasis placed on one or two soleinterests.

The club provides an opportunity togive members the platform to either use the sport as a means of working out,rather than just going for sashes, which, by all accounts, are quite achievableto gain in a short enough period of time. Also, there are plenty of practicalskills that are provided to members, such as protection from knife attacks.

The club also has a decent number ofaccolades to associate itself with in recent months, as seen in February withthe success at the inter-club tournament that took place in UCD. Of the threecategories, two were won along with medals picked up at events in both Laoisand Wexford.

The club also has plans to arrange avariety of social events throughout the year with a weekend away early on inSemester One planned to take place, while there will also be plenty of socialevents to take place throughout the year. There are hopes that a martial artsball can be arranged to take place in conjunction with the Karate Club, butthis has yet to be confirmed by all parties.

If you wish to join the club, therewill be a stand at the Sports Expo in the UCD Sports Centre during FreshersWeek where you can sign up to join the club. Membership costs €20 for the year which includestwo sessions a week that can be availed of along with a wide variety of otherbenefits. You must be a student, staff member or alumni of University CollegeDublin to join and you can contact the club via email or through their socialmedia channels.