Unique Kickboxing Fitness Centre
Unique Gym was born 15 years ago when I was only 22-years-old, but as you will see, its evolution was not a simple story.
To begin with, I was living at home and struggling to forge a career for myself. I tried studying to become a driving instructor but it was harder than I initially thought.
This left me with little to no money and doing enough work to get by. I then asked myself a question, “ What knowledge or experience do I have that could help me work for myself?”
The answer was combat sports as everyone knew me in local towns from being in and out of the ring. I decided to start coaching part time to get by which allowed me to continue studying as a driving instructor.
The beginning of my coaching career paved the way for the creation of Unique Boxing & Kickboxing Gym.
I really enjoyed coaching as it didn’t feel like work. This is because boxing, kickboxing or just martial arts in general, are my passions.
But I wanted more and felt it was time to create my own combat gym. The name ‘Unique’ sprung to mind when I was hanging out with my dad and thinking of potential names.
After telling him about all the places I visited and my experiences with boxing and martial arts, he said, “That is pretty unique.” He then said I should use that name, so really it’s my father who should take the credit.
Following this, I gathered some old pads and gloves from people I knew and set up in ROKO health club, Gillingham, where we had secured time slots.
My long time partner, Saira, was the registered first aid and we both went along with no expectations. Knowing it was my first day, I would have been happy with five people attending.
I had never really taken a structured class from start to finish on my own so I felt nervous, but people just kept on coming. Word had spread that I was coaching and before I knew it, I had thirty people standing in front of me.
In amazement, my partner asked me what I was going to do and I replied, “No idea”. Deep down, I knew I had been learning to fight from the age of 5 and competing since the age of 13, so it suddenly clicked and I led the class.
Not going to lie, it was pretty basic, but everyone left exhausted and wanting more. Within a year, I had three locations in Medway where I ran classes on different nights and within two years, I had passed my driving exams.
My plan was to then stop coaching and focus on being a full time driving instructor.
But I just couldn’t do it as it would have felt like such a waste, considering all the young children I had trained and the positive impact made on so many lives.
So I decided to continue doing both jobs and this was a blessing. We had people competing and winning lots of competitions, which meant my passion and vision only grew bigger.
By 27, I decided to open a full time centre in Chatham where the old Cash Converters used to be.
I did some research and back in 2010, it was part of the 2% most poverty struck areas in the country. I thought that’s perfect for me. Most top athletes or professional fighters have come from some of the toughest backgrounds, so I saw this as a prime location for Unique.
But like all things in life, it didn’t come easy. I opened with very little and although people came to the classes from all over, I just couldn’t make ends meet with both jobs. Call me stupid or passionate, but I refused to leave and even paid the rent with coins. Yes, these were tough times.
We had just got half way through the second year and everything seemed to change. This may have been down to me having a better understanding of the business and how to run it, or just more people turning up. But I believe it’s mainly down to my hard work. I’m no longer just one person working under the name ‘Unique’; we have expanded to a team of seven coaches and personal trainers, who support the talent that trains in our combat gym.
We believe all human beings are unique. We are neither designed the same, nor think the same. So we train everyone to embrace their individuality and to be unique.