When 13-year old Caitlin Murphy first took up kickboxing for the first time, she had no intention of competing in the sport. She was looking for a way to defend herself and had to be encouraged by her coaches to conquer her nerves.
But by early 2020, the now 16-year old teenager has become a multiple-time world kickboxing champion. According to the Derry Journal, Caitlin is now a three-time WKU World Kickboxing champion and so is her 10-year old sister Annie. They are now members of the WKU Northern Ireland team and aim to attend the next WKU 2020 championships which will take place in Quebec this October.
Training and Anxiety
Caitlin is currently a Year 12 student at Thornhill College, a Roman Catholic grammar school in Northern Ireland. In her first competition, she initially backed out because she was so nervous at the thought of competing.
But after encouragement from her coach Uel and Matthew Murphy, Caitlin became used to and enjoyed the competition. She scored a bronze medal in her first bout and then began travelling between the United Kingdom and Ireland. Participating in numerous commissions. From there, she attracted the interest of the President of the Northern Ireland Kickboxing team.
Her very first international competition was the 2017 World Championships, which were held in Ireland that year. After 18 months of intense practice, Murphy won the bout and became the world champion in her kickboxing category. She followed that up with wins in 2018 and 2019, defeating Luna Abuzaki from Lebanon and Kristin Merz from Germany in respective years.
While Caitlin is someone who has had stage fright and is open about the effort it took to be comfortable with competing, her sister Annie had no such compunctions. Annie took up kickboxing as well due to her sister’s influence at the age of 6. She won titles at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships as well, and unlike Caitlin is proud to show off the spoils of victory. Annie is an avid kickboxing promoter who loves to show off her talents at the school talent show.
Of course, any such success is a team effort beyond the two sisters. The sisters’ parents have tirelessly helped their children train and travel across the entire world. Such a burden comes with a financial cost as well. Fortunately, the sisters are sponsored by multiple businesses, including Splashbacks and other local businesses. Caitlin credits these sponsors for helping her get through difficult times and overcoming panic attacks and anxiety.
The Benefits of Youth Kickboxing
The idea of teenagers and even 10-year olds competing in kickboxing may seem odd and even outright dangerous. But Caitlin’s parents credit kickboxing for improving her focus as well as her study habits and confidence.
Learning kickboxing is no different from learning any other martial art, with the resulting improvements in physical health and discipline. UFC Gym is a UFC organisation founded to help people learn the benefits of MMA. Observe that kickboxing emphasises being part of a team as well as learning to respect your opponent. In Caitlin’s case, she had to learn to overcome her nervousness and stage fright. As a result of her becoming a world champion. Of course, by learning more about this sport, kids can gain a greater appreciation for professional kickboxing. Such as the past Glory Collision 2 or the ongoing UFC 247.
Caitlin has had to overcome mental as well as physical stresses such as total ligaments. But this humble girl is a testament to hard work, dedication, and a loving family that has raised a pair of kickboxing fanatics.