Special boxing classes catering for users of wheelchairs or crutches have begun in Walkden.

The first ‘Kronik Warrior’s’ adaptive boxing classes were held at Astley’s ‘VIP’ boxing promotions last week.

Adaptive boxing coach Luiz Faye said she “truly believes” that her free classes are set to welcome a number of keen boxers through the door.

Ms Faye said: “With Kronik Warrior UK we are passionate about creating a safe space for people with disabilities and challenges to enjoy accessible fitness.

“We find that as wheelchair users or crutches users when going into a mainstream gym, there might not be much disabled parking or the machines might not be able for us to use and you get a lot of people looking at you. Ultimately that makes it quite a chore and it can be quite daunting for a lot of people.

“A lot of amateur clubs are in places that aren’t accessible for wheelchair users so what’s amazing about VIP is that they’ve already thought about these things.”

The boxing promotion, VIP, which stands for Vital Impact Protections, has put in obtainable measures for disabled people such as accessible toilets, accessible showers and disabled parking.

The classes can be adapted to suit varying disabilities whether you are a full or part-time wheelchair user. There are also no able-bodied people in the gym during the adaptive sessions.

Adaptive Boxing with Luiz Faye

Ms Faye wants to recreate the same emotional and physical benefits that she has experienced through boxing for other disabled people in the Salford community.

Kronik Warrior member and adaptive boxer, Gwendoline Macdonald, said that through adaptive boxing: “I managed to regain what I was before I was in a wheelchair. My stress levels and anxiety went completely down because I had a way to express my frustrations.”

Ms Macdonald expressed that adaptive boxing is about: “giving power back and confidence, confidence to go out by myself again.”

Ms Faye explains that all members of the Kronik Warrior “tribe” are individually analysed so that they can pack their best punch.

“We look at the physiology of each person on a one-to-one basis and tailor that to bring out the best of that person and hopefully improve their day-to-day life from a functional perspective as well through the sport.”

Image of Adaptive Boxer Luiz Fay

Ms Faye started her journey into adaptive boxing in 2017 and from there: “had to work from the ground up to really understand this sport and get it right.”

Ms Faye drank up every bit of information she could, describing herself as a boxing “sponge”.  Her fiery passion resulted in her being invited to the World Boxing Council’s annual convention in Mexico to launch their first-ever safer adaptive boxing programme. In February 2020 Ms Faye qualified as an England Boxing Coach and is now working to ensure that adaptive boxing can be soon recognised as a competitive sport.

Ms Faye said: “I am privileged to work with GB Disability Boxing who are working with the national governing bodies to develop the pathway into competitive adaptive boxing.”

Kronik Warrior is also currently working in partnership with Swansea University to develop VR headsets that can be used alongside wearable pressure pads during boxing. This would enable a non-contact version of adaptive boxing for disabled people whose current condition prohibits physical contact.

Ms Faye said: “I’m passionate about making sure that no matter who you are you can be involved in whatever form.

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VIP has birthed a number of Salford’s champion boxers, including former European Champion Jamie Moor.

Ms Faye said: “It’s amazing to think that you’re with the most elite boxers in the world who want to do the best they can for their community no matter what level of boxing you’re involved in.”

The classes are to continue every Saturday from 2.30-3.30pm at VIP Boxing, Chaddock Lane, Astley, Greater Manchester.

 

If you or someone you know has a physical or learning challenge and are looking for a way to keep fit in the “Warrior” community maybe you should give it a swing!

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