Mother and son duo make their mark in kickboxing event
AS a mum, what do you do when your seven-year-old son starts kickboxing? Take it up yourself of course.
That is what Lisa Manning, of Bury St Edmunds, did five years ago when her youngest child, Westley Middle School pupil, Travis, began practising the martial art as a way of self-defence.
Five years on, the family are heading out to Orlando, Florida, in July to hopefully see Travis win another world championships, in the under-40kg category, while school cook Lisa, 37, wants to retire but can’t kick the bug.
“A lot of mums ask me how can I watch him in the ring, but I absolutely love it,” explains Lisa who, along with her son, scooped a national title at the Nak Light Continuous Championships 2012, in Ipswich recently, winning the under 70kg weight category.
“He is so naturally good at it that I do not worry about him getting hurt, but I do get nervous, so much so that I then give myself little time to calm down before I go in the ring.
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“We both train at the K9 Gym in Great Yarmouth and I have to spar with a 15-year-old girl at times.
“Sometimes your paternal instincts get the better of you but we just get on with it and I have been in the position where I have arrived to work the next day with two black eyes.
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“I am probably the wrong age to be starting and I would like to retire but Travis won’t let me.”
Travis’ talent in the ring can’t be denied and he is currently unbeaten in full contact kickboxing, having won the majority of his bouts in the light-contact discipline. He is number one in the world in his weight category.
His first full-contact fight saw him emerge victorious, but he was unable to progress to due to an accidental elbow to his face which caused his eye to shut completely.
Dad Phil recalled the bout, when he realised his son was in the martial art for the long haul.
“We thought he would pull out of the fight and his coach wanted him to pull out but he wanted to continue. That is the moment we realised he had the ability and toughness to do it,” he said.
“It was different when I first saw Lisa go in there and I wanted to throw the towel in, in one of her early fights because I did not like seeing her get hit in the face.”
Lisa, who once stopped a 20-year-old opponent in 20 seconds added: “There is no stopping Travis. He won all there was to win last year at national, British and world level and his first two bouts at Junior Full Contact Council-level saw him stop his opponents.”
Travis and Lisa’s pictures dominate the family living room at their Bury St Edmunds’ house and bigger living quarters will be required should he continue on his path to world domination.
The road will be tough, especially as his age at the World Championships means he will be fighting in the 13-17 category, his birthday meaning he missed out competing in the 10-12 category by just a matter of weeks,
Right now, one of his dreams is light years away as kickboxing at the Olympics has yet to become a reality. If it does, and it has been mooted, Travis’ name could be dominating the headlines in the 2020 Games.
“I have already reached my dream by becoming world champion,” explained Travis, who aptly gets the final word in this feature.
“But if a chance to compete at the Olympics came up, it would be nice to do so.
“Winning means everything to me and losing is not an option. I don’t think I will ever give up kickboxing and only my age will stop me.”
n Travis is looking for fundraising ideas and sponsors to help towards the cost of the World Championships in orlando this year. Contact Lisa on 01284 703819 or email Pphilisa@aol.com