Nick set for kick boxing world champs in Spain
NICHOLAS Reidy has only been competing in kickboxing for little over a year, but the Kingaroy fighter already has his eyes on the ultimate prize as he prepares to leave for the World Martial Arts Organisation World Championships in Spain.
Nicholas, 12, will leave for Spain on Friday with an Australian team of just five fighters, and for the youngster it will be his first trip overseas and to an international competition.
Nicholas has been training at Kingaroy Karate for Kids for seven years, but only moved into kickboxing after Brisbane-based coach Jeff Bullock brought a group of fighters from his gym, Elite Martial Arts, to Kingaroy last year.
It has since been a whirlwind 12 months for Nicholas, who travels to Brisbane twice a week to train with Bullock, on top of his studies and training commitments at home in Kingaroy.
Bullock has an impressive coaching resume, producing five world champions and seven Australian champions, and he says there is no reason why Nicholas cannot leave Spain a world champion also.
"(Nicholas) is an exceptional young athlete. He's shown a lot of dedication,” Bullock said.
"He's been competing on the amateur kickboxing circuit all over Australia. He's competed in Sydney, all around Queensland, and he's continuously got first places in all those competitions.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Nick placed or won (the world championship).”
Bullock, who began training in judo more than 50 years ago, said Nicholas had made drastic improvements over the short time they had been working together.
"We made quite a few adjustments with Nick. He's a left hander and was fighting orthodox at first, so we've changed his stance around,” Bullock said.
"His shots are more powerful, he's a lot more evasive (and) his defence has improved considerably. He's become a lot more confident, and also a lot more aggressive in competition.
"His attitude and aptitude is excellent, and we've seen non-stop progress from him over the past 12 months.”
Bullock is also cautious of putting too much pressure on the youngster, but said regardless of the result the competition experience would be of great benefit to Nicholas' future as a fighter.
"What you've got to understand is it's the first time he's been to a world games, it's going to be huge,” Bullock said.
"There's going to be a lot of competitors there, a lot of spectators, and there's going to be kids that have been to a world championships before so they'll have that psychological advantage.
"We try to prep the fighters as well as we can on a psychological level as well as a physical level, so we give them the emotional skills to be able to deal with that. We talk about stress, about being scared, about feeling the adrenaline and how the manage that feeling.
"With kids I don't like to put too much pressure on them too soon. I like them to go when they're ready, and I think Nick is ready.”
Bullock believes that no matter Nick's path after the world championships, the young fighter will succeed because of the discipline he has learned through the sport.
"The focus and concentration you learn, it's more than just learning self-defence. It's more than just sport, you can apply that to absolutely any area of your life,” he said.
"He's a credit to the sport and a credit to Kingaroy.”