Integrated Martial Arts Friendship Challenge - (L) Harmony Irvin,10, and Portia Crawford,12, go up against each other.
Integrated Martial Arts Friendship Challenge - (L) Harmony Irvin,10, and Portia Crawford,12, go up against each other. Alistair Brightman

Top skills on show at Friendship Challenge

THE Friendship Challenge is more than just a martial arts event.

It's a character-building, life-changing experience that teaches people how to master themselves so they can overcome all of life's challenges.

By pitting fighters of equal standing against each other, bouts were evenly matched as mates and rivals faced off in the ninth annual Friendship Challenge on Saturday.

Competitors came out swinging, kicking, punching and grappling, showcasing a range of styles, including kickboxing, karate, judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu - heck, even kung fu found its way on the mat.

What if someone tapped out?

No dramas. Every competitor had their hands raised after the fight, which meant everyone was a winner on the day.

Integrated Martial Arts and Development Academy founder Michael Green said the emphasis of the day wasn't about winning or losing.

These fights were about overcoming your fears and doubts. A focus on the feeling of empowerment and being your own hero.

"It's about tapping into your inner-strength and courage," Green said.

"That's what life is about, really.

"Discovering what qualities can help assist them with everyday life experiences.

"That's the good thing about martial arts.

"It strengthens those kinds of qualities we call upon in life on a daily basis."

Twenty nine athletes, aged eight to 48, took part in this year's event at the Hervey Bay PCYC.

There spectators witnessed battles of aggression, heart and determination - athletic competition at its purest with all fighters involved keeping the spirit and integrity of the sport intact.

Green said he was impressed by the skills displayed on the day and the camaraderie between the participants.

"I was very impressed with everybody, but some of the youngest kids really shone with their determination," he said.

"They kind of surprised us with how much they have learnt and they were able to showcase all those skills and abilities throughout their journey so far."



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