CARISMA Town vs. Gown 2010 – Massimo’s summary

The first CARISMA Town vs. Gown that took place yesterday at the Manor Community College in Cambridge was a great success.  It surely exceeded my own expectations as well as the ones of all people that took part to it, among fighters, organisers or spectators.

It all started from a simple idea about offering the possibility for beginners and first timers to experience fighting in the ring while in a friendly environment.  I truly feel it could have not gone much better as we had:

  • Over 170 people watching and supporting
  • A great team of over a dozen organisers that ensured a smooth running of the event between door access, coaching, photography, presenting, DJ and entertainment and medical assistance that luckily was not needed.
  • 29 fighters that delivered 15 top class fights and a great show: please notice that 18 of them were at their first fighting experience and 9 of them started training kickboxing in October 2009 with no previous experience in martial arts!

I did a lot of thinking during the last couple of days, between the amazing rush to get everything done on time and last night when I was as tired as if I took part in every single bout and yet I could not sleep because of the adrenaline released… Here are a few random considerations about the whole event:

  • Although each fighter was a student of mine I was surprised about how competitive I felt for the person I was coaching: funny enough several times I found myself giving suggestions to the other fighter as well;
  • Many of the spectators were members of the three clubs and several of them pointed out how great the whole thing was and how they could have not never seen themselves in the ring and fighting.  In many cases I replied: “if you want to you can do it, it’s just matter of planning it and training for it”.
  • One of the greatest achievements of the whole day was having no accidents, giving no work at all to Soren, the medical officer who managed to even spend some time coaching some of the CUKBS fighters.
  • The role of a coach is key for the good result of a fight because it offers an extra pair of eyes with a much broader vision as well as a fairly detached view of the fight, not (too much) affected by adrenaline and other chemicals;
  • At the same time the role of the coach is highly facilitated by a fighter that can listen and simply put in practice the strategies suggested by the coach;
  • Learning how to fight is part of learning kickboxing.  We usually invite people to sparring classes as soon as they are fit for it simply because techniques must be put in practice in a dynamic environment where your partner/opponent is no longer collaborating and helping you.  The next step is fighting in a competition, even a friendly one like this one brings you to the next level, fighting to win or be beaten and a lot of emotions kick in, some people can manage them well while for other it is just overwhelming.
  • Managing energy across the fight is a skill to be learnt and put in practice. Most of yesterday’s fighters are regularly attending to sparring classes where every Monday we run 14-15 rounds of 2 and half minutes: nonetheless we saw energy simply running out for a few people.  Often it’s not due to lack of fitness but the emotional involvement in the fight that is draining up all energies.
  • Behind a great organisation there is always a great management team: instructors and committee of CARISMA yesterday demonstrated this by ensuring the whole event running perfectly and covering all roles and tasks that were required.  Ditto for the committees of CUKBS and ARUKBC that offered help in key logistic areas.
  • Although I am no stranger to public speaking it was the first time I felt at the centre of the show in the way I was yesterday: standing on a stage with a microphone and talking to so many spectators seems easy but it surely requires a bit of training and practice.  Using a well known slogan from a Mastercard advert: having my 6 years old daughter shouting “I am so proud of my dad: is famous because he is speaking on the stage” was absolutely priceless 🙂

I would like to thank, personally and on behalf of a very successful Town vs. Gown 2010, in random order:

  • Judging and refereeing: Pete, Luis, Mark Taylor, Jill, James Bush
  • Assistance and supervision on lights and audio: Georgios
  • DJ and entertainment: Rhemayo
  • Photography: Duncan and Mark Nicmanis
  • Coaching: Soren, Robin, Heley, James Bush
  • Door and security: Andrea, Veronika and Sam
  • Medical assistance: Soren
  • Speaker and presenter: Wez
  • Round boards girl (can’t think of a better definition at the moment): Veronika
  • Fighters: Jill Sommerville, Harriet Teare, Heidi Holmes, Helen Porte, Lucy Liu, Jenny Almeida, Ronnit Wilmersdoerffer, Heley Matthews, Marie Fygle, Rosie Snajdr, Amin Abolghasemi, Nasser Salmi, Jeremy Leong, Vassil Richter, Aaron Lewis, Alexandre Larose, Franz Ronay, Andrew Gilham, Phil Mcdiarmid, Jamie Trotman, James Leggett, Richard Blockley, Tom Hennessy, Chris Kelly, Chris Jones, Neil Levesley, James Bush, Georgios Evangelinos

Results, pictures and videos of the show will be available as the various people involved will be in the position to supply them: just keep following the TG2010 tag on this blog for any further development.

If you were there I would like to know your impressions: please leave a comment to this post.

7 thoughts on “CARISMA Town vs. Gown 2010 – Massimo’s summary

  1. Congratulations to all – sounds like a great event! I just wish I could have been there… Looking forward to photos/videos!

  2. It really was a great event Massimo. It takes a lot of guts to get in a ring in front of 170 people and put yourself on the line for your club. There were some very memorable fights and winner or loser everyone who got up to fight should be very proud of themselves!

    I think there is really no substitute for ring experience. Sparring is definately a necessity if you want to compete, but the only thing that can really train you for competition is competition. In a sparring session it doesn’t matter that much if you do well or not, sure you may go home a little upset but in the ring it DOES matter a LOT. You dont want to let your friends down, you dont want to look stupid, you want the trophy etc… That difference has a huge psychological impact on a fighter. I noticed yesterday that even the most technically accomplished of the fighters used only a fraction of the techniques they would routinely use in a sparring session. Only those fighters with lots of actual competition experience, regardless of grade, were able to use more than jab, cross, front and round kick.

    Im looking forward to watching the videos!


  3. I’d like to echo the gratitude expressed yesterday, and say again, Massimo – thanks so much for being the driving force behind this competition. And on behalf of CUKBS, thanks to everyone else that was involved.

    I really feel that the event benefitted our club as a whole – we had a lot of fighters in the ring for the first time, who were able to compete in an atmosphere that was friendly and supportive. That’s an opportunity that isn’t often found. Learning how to manage your emotions and adrenaline in the ring is something that takes time, and that just can’t be simluated in training – for us, preparing for Varsity (and for me personally, ever trying to improve) yesterday’s experiences were invaluable!

    I say let’s make sure this becomes an annual event!

  4. I have to say I was really impressed by the way the first-time fighters got stuck in, and by the level of focus & professionalism of all involved. It was also good to see the difference, as James notes, between the beginner’s bouts and the more experienced ones in terms of variety of techniques.

    From the comments I overheard I think the audience generally expect this to be an annual thing, so it looks like the decision of whether to repeat the event is out of your hands, Massimo. I’ll try to keep the penguin-suit in good enough shape for next year…

  5. Pingback: Town Vs Gown 2010 Summary | ARUKBC

  6. Thanks again Massimo for this event which has been extremely nice to watch. I have to admit that at the end I was quite disappointed to hadn’t take part. Anyway, it has been a great opportunity to see how things are in a competition (even if seeing and fighting in a ring are definitely different of course). I would like also to congratulate the referee who tried to lightened the atmosphere and always said few words about the fight. I apreciated.
    Looking forward the next one!


    ps: nice playlist mr Dj! Dj Hype, the Herbaliser…

  7. TvG 2010 was a great event, thanks to every in the management for making the event as good as it was. Also to the many spectators who built the atmosphere that in part made the fight worth fighting. I personally love the performance aspect, giving the spectators a good fight, and this was a fantastic opportunity to do so.

    I’m sure this goes for everyone who competed: thanks for the trophies! They were a lovely addition to the day.



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