In 535bc when Heraclitus said “there is nothing more constant than change”, I doubt that he thought some literary no-mark would be referencing his throwaway comment 2,552 years later; and less so that said nobody would be using it in the context of a martial arts promotion in Leicestershire. But, today it that day; I like to think he’d read this and think “yes, that fits”. However, I digress. Today, reader, I’m going to introduce you to a hidden gem in the mixed martial arts world, the Hybrid Fight promotion.
Saturday June 10th will be the date that Hybrid Fight returns to The Greene King Stadium in Hinckley for its 9th instalment. I caught up with the brains behind the brilliance, Iain Ward, to find out all his history and how Hybrid came to be.
“I first became interested in martial arts, like many people, after watching Enter The Dragon for the first time around the age of 14/15 and took up Kung Fu. I managed a few sashes before I jacked it in pursuit of other activities that tempt the mind of young, impressionable teenagers. I didn’t return to martial arts until the age of about 30 when I went along as support to a kickboxing class and ended up really enjoying it. Time flew, belts clocked up and I became a kickboxing instructor”.
“I always loved the idea of running my own show but wanted a unique angle that people would take notice of. When MMA shows were few and far between they were really exciting. Then, almost over night there were 5 or 6 shows every weekend, some professionally ran and well organised, some were just utter ****, to be blunt”.
And unique this is. A quick look at the Hybrid website will tell you just how unique a concept this promotion is. For the benefit of you, the reader, here is how it’s set up:
‘An MMA hybrid sport based on traditional San Shou rules but with modern tweaks for todays modern fighters. Punches, kicks, clinch, knees and takedowns. No ground fighting or submissions mean that this format is fast paced and all action. What else is different? Hybrid Fight offers TWO levels of combat under the same fight format, Light-Con and Full Contact. Under our Light-Con rules, fighters must been seen to control the aggression when executing strikes and takedowns, this makes for a more technically sound fight with less chance of serious injury and is suited towards first time, white collar, novice and amateur fighters although more seasoned veterans are not excluded’.
“We used to use the basic (Sanshou) strikes and takedowns format in sparring sometimes and thought I could elaborate on that. I honestly didn’t really know what Sanshou was until I looked into it. It’s a tough format to fight under as the pace is pretty fast and non stop and as I mentioned before, I didn’t want to be “just another MMA show”
“The rules differ slightly from traditional sanshou or sanda as I wanted to make it easier to adapt to from MMA, Thai, kickboxing or whatever. If I kept it strictly Sanshou then it would only appeal to the traditionalists and that would keep a big percentage of fighters away”.
So what do the traditionalists think of this adaptation of their sport?
“Erm, I have no idea if I’m honest as I don’t know any; although the guy that is fighting for the Lightweight Title this weekend is a member of the GB SanShou team and he loves it obviously, as it’s right up his street”.
Ward went on to elaborate on the history of the show;
“It has grown massively since we launched back in 2013 (then called FightLight). We still have a fair way to go and are under no illusion of where we sit in the UK fight scene, but as a small show I believe we sit among the best when I comes down to honestly and integrity with well ran events and above all, no BS. Every show is an improvement on the last and we will continue to grow and get better as standard”.
With a handful of tickets still available on the door, if you fancy seeing this intriguing adaptation of combat sport in reality; get yourself down to the Greene King Stadium in Hinckley this Saturday. You won’t regret it.
You can learn more and link with Hybrid using the following links: