The Malta Independent 20 November 2018, Tuesday

15 Years of Kickboxing in Malta:

Malta Independent Thursday, 15 December 2011, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

This November it will mark the 15th year anniversary since Ying Yang Kickboxing club opened its doors to become the most dynamic Maltese club in this sport discipline.

In 1996 Master Noel Mercieca, the founder of the club, started to teach this Martial Art to just two students in a school hall in Fgura. Now 15 years, four sports halls and numerous victories later, he is the proud instructor of 150 students that train Kickboxing as a way of life, as a sport, and as a hobby.

As a Black Belt 5th Dan in Kickboxing and Black Belt in Tang So Do he has the knowledge to teach and train his students. Some of them also ended up in achieving numerous national, European and world titles in Kickboxing, Boxing and K1.

The first great achievement was in 1999 when the then 11 year old Ruth Tanti won the Gold Medal in the WKA world championships held here in Malta.

In 2004 the club became part of the Malta Kickboxing Association (MKBA) that was founded by Kancho Adrian Axisa. It was here that Mercieca and Axisa started organizing the National Championships and in the same year Ying Yang won eight Title Belts out of 11.

From then on, the club’s members won the lion’s part of every national championship and from there went for their next step, that of competing abroad.

In 2006 the Ying Yang tenaciously represented Malta by winning seven matches out of 10 in an international competition against British kickboxers.

In 2007 the club became part of the World Kickboxing Network (WKN) and started competing with K1 rules, where knee strikes are allowed. Reuben “the Wolf” Azzopardi was the first to compete in K1 but Daniel “the Jet” Zarha brought home the first WKN Belt. In 2009 the MKBA organised the first WKN World Cup in which Ruth Tanti was the first female athlete that won a world title together with three other Ying Yang members. In 2010 Terence Cilia won the WKN European Cup against a kickboxer from Ireland.

Currently Master Mercieca has a total of 15 students that have the Black Belt level and are all capable of giving instruction during training. Due to the new fully equipped training facility in Fgura, Master Mercieca is capable of giving lessons every day of the week.

All the club’s members vary in age from the youngest at six years to the oldest at 50 years and the lessons are catered for both beginners and advanced. It was just last August that Ying Yang became the first Kickboxing Club to be part of the Kunsill Malti għall-isport.

The climax for this year was last week when Daniel “the Jet” Zahra became the first ever Maltese kickboxer to compete on a professional level. This was a five rounds match of three minutes where both contenders competed for the WKN European title in kickboxing which was eventually won by the Maltese athlete.

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