Saturday, November 10, 2012

Full & Half Blue: Oxford Varsity Sports Ranks & Benny Urquidez Kickboxing

   Another Oxford University tradition has come up...the Oxford full and half blue!  Now, this has nothing to do with the Fifth Week Blues, (the stressed out condition most of us are in now, at halfway through term). Getting your "half blue" or "full blue" are honours in the varsity sport world at Oxford. According to the Oxford Sports website, the tradition began in 1827, when Charles Wordsworth of Christ Church college at Oxford arranged a two day cricket match against Cambridge. Oxford was "dark blue" and Cambridge was "light blue". Yes, he was related (the nephew of) THE William Wordsworth. Unfortunately Oxford lost the first few matches, but it sounds like it's been intese rivalry in the cricket world since. (Cricket = boring. I don't follow it).

Some sports are "full blue", like rowing, athletics, dance, field hockey, karate, lacrosse, netball and tennis and others are "half blue" like ice hockey, judo, polo, skiing and ultimate frisbee. What denotes some sports as "half"? I have NO idea (but please comment on this post if you do!). My best guess is that the "full" blue sports have been around longer. You even get the honour of purchasing a 250 GBP blazer ("jacket") with the appropriate emblem emblazoned on it, as well as variety of other apparel, at Walters , where they sell both full and half attire.

Full blue
Half blue

I've just found out that Kickboxing was "recognized" last year as an official "half blue" sport (apparently if your club is not officially "recognized", you can't be part of this tradition). Interestingly enough, the Varsity Sports Status website is not yet updated. I may email them and find out why!  The requirements to get half and full blues depend on the sports, and all include at least one match against our main rival, Cambridge.

So, as a member of the Oxford University Kickboxing Club (OUKBC), I am going to have to work really hard to try to be good enough to train for the varsity match against Cambridge in March. Apparently they are implementing a belt system soon (I wonder if I start at white belt or have to take a test?) Wow, is it ever different though --- I have to buy new shin guards and foot pads, re-learn some "footwork" and master when to use different types of blocks. I've never been in ANY sort of sports competition before, so I'm kinda nervous (and I'm sure I'll have to start weightlifting and downing that protein powder again). More on this and training in a future post!

Benny Urquidez is a famous kickboxer that I learned about when I used to train at  Edmonton Mixed Martial Arts. He is from California, from a  family of athletes, including his brother and father who were both pro boxers, his mother who was a wrestler and his sister, Lily, a kickboxer as well. He is an undefeated champion with over 200 wins and no losses; he retired in 1993 ( Benny moves unbelievably well. I still have so much trouble with distancing and getting in and out of the ring fast enough, especially since I have so little reach. I am now training with the Oxford University Kickboxing Clubwhich can hopefully help me improve my skills. 

Urquidez is most famous for winning a fight against Japanese fighter Okao. Check out the Discovery Channel video's a really cool 3.5 minute clip! Martial arts has so many "flavours" and styles, and this guy just fights any of them! For Benny's official site - click here!

That's all for my kickboxing post for now...stay tuned for a special Remembrance Day war museum post tomorrow!

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