On the 10th November I went to a sparring seminar in Northampton with Kataya Solovey.
She is a two times ITF World Champion, nine times ITF European Champion and two times ITF World Cup Champion, so I couldn’t wait to learn from her.
When I first heard of the seminar I watched some YouTube videos and saw her amazing kicks and fast hands. Here is one with several highlights: https://youtu.be/hmEgDk3jCAE. She spins beautifully and I will be working hard to try and improve my spins to that standard!
The seminar was three hours long and was a mix of all grades and ages. Katya Solovey came with her training partner and translator Viktoria Sokolovska. They are both so talented! We went through a few kicking drills on the pads, which was a great warmup and I’ll defo be adding those drills to my conditioning training. Then it was onto footwork practise and lots of side kick counters. I’ve been working on side kick counters in my own training so I was familiar with several of them, but it was great to learn more and see how they do it. I was amazed by how quickly she moved and the pace she could come in to attack and then get back out at her range, while also being stable enough to spin and counter if anyone came back after her following her attack.
I read this interview the ITF did with her http://itfofficial.org/blog/2013/12/interview-with-katya-solovey/ and I love how she says she tried “not only to win, but to make my sparring spectacular.” When asked what traits make a good fighter she said “the most important are perseverance, fighting spirit, strength of character, respect to an opponent, and desire to win” and I couldn’t agree more! It was a privilege to train with her and maybe one day I’ll be taking similar sparring seminars!