Zanshin Karate Jutsu: Home of Champions

Tonight two of our club stepped into the octagon and made us all proud. For those of you that missed it, you missed some excellent performances so here is just a short update for you on what happened.

Clan Wars XVII was an opportunity for Carl and Aaron to take their place as ulster champions and they both did the job beautifully.

Carl was up first fighting for the place of best bantamweight in Ulster facing Ross Corriston from NGNI. I was talking to Carl beforehand and he was confident and focussed. To be honest, I had no doubt he would win and he did so in a decisive manner with a fantastic armbar about 20 seconds into the first round. There isn’t much to be said about the fight.. Only so much can happen in 20 seconds, but it was clear that Carl had a game plan and he executed it perfectly. The setup for the armbar was perfect and it was fully deserving of the submission of the night.

Carlos "The King" McNally

Carlos “The King” McNally

Aaron stepped up shortly after to face Glenn Irvine, also from NGNI, to find out who is the best welterweight in Ulster.

I don’t think anyone in our club would ever have believed there was much doubt on this, though Aaron’s opponent put up a hell of a fight. Irvine was a heavy hitter and landed a couple of solid rights on Aaron in the first before hitting him with an accidental kick to the groin. The fight stopped for a few minutes as Aaron recovered and at this point my heart was in my mouth. I don’t know how the hell he got back up but he did and he finished the first round well. The second round was a total war with both fighters exchanging heavy blows. Aaron was taken down twice, but Irvine didn’t do much to capitalise on the takedowns and Aaron seemed unphased. By the start of the third round, Irvine looked tired and Aaron came out strong and hard. He dominated the third round taking Irvine down and unleashing some gruelling ground and pound. Respect is due to Irvine who took it and kept going. After a few takedowns and GnP onslaughts by Aaron he eventually cinched in a beautiful rear naked choke and an exhausted Irvine was forced to tap. It was an incredible fight and was, rightfully, named the fight of the night.

Aaron Kennedy (Picture courtesy of Bobby Sheppard)

Aaron Kennedy (Picture courtesy of Bobby Sheppard)

My throat hurt from shouting… But not as much as my ears hurt from Tom and Pete’s equally enthusiastic cheering.  Two great fighters and two great champions. A credit to the club and a credit to the coach who helped them get there.

The Champs and the Coach who made it happen (picture stolen from Carls facebook)

The Champs and the Coach who made it happen (picture stolen from Carls facebook)

Clan Wars 17

Any excuse to get the tops off

Any excuse to get the tops off

We are just a few weeks away from Clan Wars 17. The event is in the Ramada Hotel on the 24th of November and a few of the ZKJ boys will be there representing the club.

Anyone who has ever been to the Dojo knows Carl “King Carlos” McNally and Aaron Kennedy. Carl is hard to miss because I think he actually lives in the Dojo and as for Aaron.. Well, he is the Dojo poster child. Like, literally.. He is on the posters and flyers. Those ones that the ladies from the girls class keep stealing.

Clan Wars 17 is a big night for both Aaron and Carl. I mean, I don’t think any night when you step into an octagon and go toe to toe with someone can ever be considered a normal night, but this one is even more out of the ordinary.

These fights are the Ulster championships and will crown the Ulster champion in each weight category. The local champions will then go on to the all-Ireland championships and from this the Irish team will be chosen for the World championships that will happen next July at the UFC fan expo in Las Vegas….

So.. Y’know.. No pressure lads.

Both Carl and Aaron have a 4 – 1 record in MMA and both they and everyone in the club wants to see those records become 5 – 1 on the 24th.  Carl is fighting Ross Corriston at Bantamweight (61kg) and Aaron is fighting Glen Irvine at welterweight (77kg). Both opponents are from NGNI in Ballymena.

For those of you that don’t know, our coach is the director of the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Ireland (MMAFI) . You can read a bit more about what Danny has been doing for the MMAFI here. We all know how hard Danny works coaching the club and making sure these fighters are ready to step into the octagon in the first place, but it’s important to recognise the work he is doing in the background to ensure that these opportunities happen for the fighters in the first place.

These fights are clearly a great opportunity for Aaron and for Carl and for the club as a whole. There was a great representation from the club at Clan Wars 16 and it was a great evening. I will be there again for this one . I am looking forward to it and I hope to see you there.