Written On 7-15-03
A Stance for Something
Since childhood most of us have had to take a stance for or against something. Oftentimes, the mental or emotional urges to follow the group in doing something that we knew was wrong or detrimental to us were the toughest to fight. We faced challenges in our adolescence that called for taking a stance. Remember when a "friend" would ask you to stay out longer than the deadline your parents had given? Some of us followed our parents' request while others went the opposite direction only to suffer the consequences of those actions...the wrath of our parents! As adults we deal with taking a stance on our jobs, with our children, spouses, and so on. Sometimes, not knowing if we are right or wrong but just following our hearts to what we feel is the right thing to do and hoping for positive results. Relying on our past experiences to show us and our loved ones the best way to proceed is never easy but nonetheless pertinent to our daily successes or failures.
Recently, Kickboxers have had to deal with the reality of other amateur tournaments that seem to spring up everywhere, alluring the "hungry for a fight" Kickboxer to make a decision. For the past four years the IKF has been building the most successful Kickboxing tournament in the history of the sport. Now in it's fifth year, most who have attended are pleased with the outcome of the IKF Nationals. Other organizations have recognized the success of the IKF and are now eager to produce their version of a National and/or North American tournament. The decision to try and support all of these tournaments may have financial and enduring consequences that all of us will have to deal with.
We will have to decide or take a stance on whether supporting other tournaments is helping to further grow our sport or diluting it in a way that diminishes the longest running and most successful tournament. Thereby, taking away the strength of a solidly laid foundation that could be the answer to convincing major potential sponsors to pour badly needed revenues into the dehydrated "spit bucket" we have had for many years. We are now starting to reap a few rewards of the hard work done by the IKF. For example, more sponsorships, a TV deal, and a Kickboxing magazine to name a few!
Some will argue they are more concerned with keeping their fighters busy than massaging any group's letters. Others will say that they support Kickboxing in general and the more tournaments the better. All of these views may be true and have their strong points. However, here is something to consider for example. When it comes to finances, some may find that choosing one tournament over the other will be their only recourse, resulting in one tournament losing out on a valuable competitor(s). Thus, possibly reducing the overall participants numbers to a level not respected by potential sponsors etc. So the real questions are do we take a stance for what has worked for us the past four years or, do we jump ship to chance the waters of the unproven? Is it better to have four or five small tournaments or one or two large ones? Are we willing to deal with the consequences of our actions in the potential demise of our sport...again? Or, should we continue to ride the wave of success that we have witnessed with the IKF / Nationals?
I don't necessarily see where supporting other tournaments will ultimately cause the demise of our sport and I also think one should follow their heart to what is the proper thing to do based on their situation. Keep in mind the questions posed above. But certainly there lies ahead a bigger challenge for the IKF and that is to continue to grow and make events even better than in the past. The IKF must continue to give the fighters, trainers, promoters and the fans what they want. The IKF must continue to prevail to the hearts of those who have committed their support to the IKF, regardless of their commitments to other organizations.
My mother, when I was a child, and my wife today constantly remind me of these cherished words "Johnny, either you stand for something are you'll fall for anything!"
Therefore, my objective and stance is unclouded and I'm willing to deal with whatever consequences that may befall me. I have witnessed firsthand the IKF fulfilling today my childhood dreams that never materialized for the sport of Kickboxing in the past. So today, my stance is for the potential bright future that has been established by the IKF's commitment to offer the best in growing our sport since its inception ten years ago! My stance is for consistency and to one day offer consistent opportunities for fighters to get more fights and make the kind of money that enables them to live beyond the meager means that many live in today! My stance is for fighters and trainers to get the recognition they deserve for their undying commitment, desire and hard work to become the best! My stance is for securing the hopes and desires of those not yet born but who will also dream of obtaining prosperity and longevity in this great sport of Kickboxing! My stance... is for the IKF! Forward March!