Ja out to rule kickboxing circuit

June 16, 2016
(From left) Team manager and coach Jason McKay; Alex Dunn; Romario Cole; Subrina Richards; Richard Stone; Adrian Moore; United States fighter, Julio Carlos, and senior coach, Claude Chin. Contributed

Jamaica's recent success at the 2016 International Sports Kickboxing Association's World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany, six medals, topped by Subrina Richards' double gold, marked another milestone in the Jamaica combined martial arts team's mandate not to limit itself to any one form.

None has been more proud of Richards' achievements and the team, in general, than her coach and combined team manager, Jason McKay, who has described himself as "the test pilot" of the squad's success.

"Before I ask the fighters to try a new art, I go out and test it for myself," said McKay, a martial arts veteran of 30-odd years.

"Before Kenneth Edwards dreamt of Olympic qualification for London 2012, Arthur Barrows and I had gone to Pan Am qualifiers in Mexico, for Athens 2004. Arthur made it to the quarter-finals and I actually won a bronze in the semi-finals, narrowly missing Olympic qualification," he pointed out.

"I always wanted to have Jamaicans test the ISKA circuit, which has done for martial arts what Twenty20 has done for traditional cricket, a hybrid of all the martial arts, an exciting, TV-friendly martial art," McKay explained.

Jamaica's combined martial arts team first attended the ISKA World Champs in Holland 2012. Jamaica got an unexpected windfall on debut as Oshane Murray won gold. McKay won a bronze medal, along with Dusard and Adrian Moore.

However, McKay knew the team could have done better and identified its weakness.

"Oshane Murray won gold, but the performance of the team, overall, was way below standard. What happened afterwards was that the training methods had to be changed to suit ISKA-style fighting.

Stuttgart, Germany, 2016, yielded six medals, three gold, two silver and a bronze. Richards defended her points sparring title and added continuous sparring gold. Richard Stone won gold and Adrian Moore silver. Schoolboys Alex Dunn and Romario Cole won junior silver and bronze medals, respectively.

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