I’ll never forget the vibe in my old gym. It was 1968 and I’d just started this crazy sport called boxing. I was 8 years old – thin, pale, and sickly. I walked reluctantly into my first training session.

Already the guys were at it: skipping, bashing the bag, sparring in the full-size ring. Everything was new to me. I had no idea what was going on. The noise, the sweat, the speed of the skipping and sit-ups and press-ups. It was overwhelming.

A slight, athletic man approached me while still barking instructions to the guys on the floor. Marcel Schubach became my first ever sports trainer and mentor. Soon enough I was in the ring trying to keep up with the rest of them. I think I was the smallest person in the entire gym, including the younger children sitting on the side-lines not yet old enough to take part.

My journey with Marcel took me through many provincial titles for Natal, all the way to the South African amateur boxing championships. Most of all, Marcel instilled in me the true meaning of sports discipline and intense training. When people tell me that I train hard, I ask “Is there any other way?”

I stopped boxing at about 15 or 16 when the pressures of school and school sport got in the way, but I never lost that intensity and desire to exercise to the max. In January 2020 – 45 years later – my eldest son expressed an interest in boxing. I contacted Sensei Bruce van Rensburg at Samurai Claremont. He suggested I come along as well…

That evening, my son and I walked into one of the most special vibes and places of energy I have had the privilege to experience. The intensity was incredible. The mood was energising and spiritually uplifting. The message was clear: don’t bother training if you won’t give everything you have. And then give more!

That is Sensei Bruce and Samurai Claremont.

As a competitive paddler and trail runner, I have no doubt that the Boxfit cross-training at Samurai Claremont has enhanced my ability to compete in all my chosen disciplines, and gives my sports journey a real edge and true longevity.

Two years later I am still training at Samurai and hope to box until I can no longer lift my arms! Thank you Sensei Bruce and everyone I’m privileged to train with.