IRON TIGER. FIGHT AND FITNESS.
Cape Town South Africa. Interview with Kerry Hugill.
Iron Tiger is a great place to get a kick-ass workout while learning how to really kick ass. A project turned all-out passion; this gym represents all the aspects of the martial arts that Kerry Hugill has shaped much of her life around. Discipline, determination, patience and consistency. The gym offers group classes and private training in a variety of martial arts fighting and fitness styles and is a place that values hard work and beating-the-ever-living-daylights out of challenges and hurdles.
“It is a place for those who love to push themselves and test their abilities, get fit, look good, and everything in between,” Kerry says, “This includes training for both professional and competitive athletes, as well as amateurs and those wishing for an alternative to regular fitness programmes.”
Based in the heart of Cape Town South Africa, the training programmes available include boxing, Muay Thai, functional fitness and HIIT training. Kerry explains that she was training at the same gym under the former owner until she learnt that he was planning on leaving the country. At which point she saw an opportunity to keep things going. So, they rebranded and relaunched with something fresh while still offering what clients were looking for.
“You form a special bond with the place you train in,” she explains, “By keeping this going we were able to continue to provide a place for current clients to train while offering newcomers something fresh and uniquely ours.”
Kerry began studying martial arts when she was around ten years old, beginning with karate of which she dedicatedly focussed on for many years. This wasn’t like the karate training that is available today which has become very corporate and “belt orientated”, rather for Kerry to earn her second degree blackbelt she had to fight for it. This included three hour long grading sessions focussed around kumite and gruelling training sessions to develop the key skills of combat. By her own admission, she loved every minute of it.
“After karate I later transitioned to boxing because I like to hit things,” she says jubilantly, “My boxing coach saw that I was flexible and could kick well, so suggested I move to Muay Thai instead. This is the perfect blend of kicking and punching and I haven’t looked back since!”
Intended to open in March 2020, Covid-19 meant that they couldn’t officially open. While this has meant that there have been no clients coming to the gym to train it has given Kerry the opportunity to offer fitness programmes, technique and combo demonstrations via social media.
“We’ve encouraged home fitness and training and provided guidelines and support,” she explains, “And at the same time we’ve needed this inspiration ourselves to keep training.”
As they are new, one of the challenges that they’ve had to face was some housekeeping to make sure members knew that they could still get the same level of travel despite a change of name. Then there is of course Coronavirus. In both cases, they’ve worked very hard to build positive momentum and show people how serious they are about creating a great space, with skilled coaches and a welcoming atmosphere.
While not a vlogger or a blogger, Kerry has made very good use of social media to promote her new business. Her business partner is a boxer himself and a photographer and he’s responsible for the incredible shots of her. These professional images have immortalised the spirit behind the brand and the gym; capturing the elemental aspects of hard work, fierceness, determination and violent grace.
It’s hardly surprising that the imagery used to capture the attention of potential gym members is of such a high standard. Given that there was so much creativity available.
While it may seem to fly in stark contrast to the high octane, bag smashing ferocity found on the floor, Kerry is also an excellent artist and is a trained graphic designer by profession. Having demonstrated an early talent with illustration, a sophisticated creativity and an extraordinary ability to bring things to life on paper, she has honed these skills with as much applied perseverance and dedication as is ever seen on the gym floor. Reminiscent of the martial artists of old who saw an intrinsic connection between the fighting arts and the creative.
The plans post Lockdown are to continue to grow the gym and the Iron Tiger community. Kerry reveals that their goal is to create a space where athletes and members of all levels of interest and fitness can train together and express their passion for the sport, health and fitness. As such, they encourage members to participate, support each other, and grow their skills in a welcoming environment.
“We also wish to expand this to include other gyms, so that while there might be healthy competition, there is also a sense of community within the industry in general,” she says.
At the same time, Kerry wants to produce boxers, Muay Thai fighters, and kickboxers who are highly skilled and competitive who will take part and win a multitude of events.
“In short, we wish to create a home for fighters, fitness aficionados and enthusiasts alike,” she says.
FB and IG: @irontigerct
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