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Celebrate Belfast 2005

Poster for the Celebrate Belfast 2006 event at the city Hall
Celebrate Belfast 2005
Join us in celebrating the best of Belfast’s rich and diverse culture's

Politicians have been scrapping with one another in for many years in Belfast’s City Hall council chambers, but (this Saturday1st Oct) children from all over Northern Ireland will teach them how to put up a real fight.

Kickboxers as young as six years of age will help launch the Opening Ceremony of the Celebrate Belfast initiative, demonstrating their skills in self-defence and combat.

A boxing ring will take centre stage on the City Hall’s lawn, where a number of other sports will be displayed, and world champion Gary Hamilton will also perform in an open-air bout.

The young kickboxers hail from the east Belfast-based Prokick Gym franchise and their head coach, Billy Murray, a former four-time world champion said onlookers will be pleasantly surprised by his budding stars.

“People have misconceptions about combative sports and it’s great that the Belfast City Council is giving the likes of kickboxing an opportunity to put itself on display. My members do not join my gym to fight. They come to learn self-defence and get fit.

“The children come to regular classes and are graded with belts as they improve. We have a three-word code - Truth, Discipline and Respect - that they must practice inside and outside the gym.

“Often parents tell me that their children have changed for the better since becoming involved in our sport. We have kids aged five and grandparents aged 56 and no-one is pushed toward competitive fighting – that’s a choice they make for themselves.”

Murray, chairman of the East Belfast Sports Forum, believes the Celebrate Belfast programme will boost other so-called minority sports.

“For many years we battled against the mind-set that kickboxing was an undesirable sport but today it is the fastest growing sport in Northern Ireland. I know the frustrations facing other sports but with perseverance they can become as successful as kickboxing.”

Tickets for the December 19 KICKmas BOX show at the Ulster Hall are now on sale at the Prokick Gym, 028 90 651 074. Tickets prices are: Ringside £50; Ringside Two £40; Ringside Three £30; Outside seating £25; Outer Ring £17.50; Choir seating £15; Balcony (unreserved) £20; Family (Choir area), Two adults, Two children £40.

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