David Gibb is passionate about martial arts

PASSION: David Gibb is so passionate about martial arts he decided to do it full-time and open his own business, Spartan MMA. Photo: Amy Paton
PASSION: David Gibb is so passionate about martial arts he decided to do it full-time and open his own business, Spartan MMA. Photo: Amy Paton

David, before we speak about your sporting career we must have a chat about the Port Fairy Folk Festival. One of many highlights at the festival was The Southern Ocean Sea Band which you are a member of. The band was a huge success story. How did you get involved in the band?

I had a chat to Jordie Lockett and Gus Franklin and it all went from there.

I play the guitar and the banjo. It was an amazing thrill to be part of a band which opened the festival on the Friday night. The festival was the first official gig for us since the band formed six months ago. It was incredible to have such a professional sound crew there to help us out at our gigs. We opened the festival on the Friday night and played our last gig on the Fiddlers Green on the Monday afternoon in front of a big crowd, which contained many locals including my mum.

Have you always gone to the folk festival?

Yes. I've lived away on various occasions but I've always come home for the festival. It was always on my bucket list to play at the festival and to do it with a group of people who are brilliant musicians was amazing. We sang songs which related to the history of Port Fairy. I think having songs about Port Fairy really helped us because the group is very passionate about the town, its history and people.

David, did the group put in much practice to prepare for its inaugural Port Fairy Folk Festival?

We put in untold hours of practice. We've got nine in the group and two of them are based in Melbourne so it's a great commitment, especially by the Melbourne-based people, to put in countless of hours to make sure our first gig was such a success.

David, you mentioned your sporting highlight as competing for the Australian Kickboxing title in 2008. Can you take me through the steps that led up to that event?

I can still remember I put in heaps of practice. There was a lot of hard work. I ended up winning my way through to the final after taking out other events. Each round was over three minutes and in some cases, there were three rounds and in others five rounds to a contest, so you can imagine how tiring it all is.

When you were growing up what sports did you play?

I played junior footy with Port Fairy in the under 13s, 15s and 18s.

I played in the forward pocket for an under 13 premiership side, which was coached by Maurice Kelly.

I got a job as an apprentice bricklayer when I was 16-years-old. My boss suggested I give the footy away because if I got injured I would not be able to do my work. Since I was not much good as a footballer, I took his advice. I played a bit of cricket, tennis, and basketball when I was growing up but I got involved with doing taekwondo when I was eight-years-old and I soon realised that I had a real passion for the sport.

I used to attend training twice a week, after reading a notice regarding taekwondo on the noticeboard at school. I started competing in events down in Melbourne and then I took part in an under 14 tournament and I was really hooked. I represented Victoria on three occasions and even tried out for the Australian taekwondo team in 2004 but missed out.

Can you give me a short explanation about taekwondo?

Martial arts people put the sport together back in the 1940s and 1950s. It's developed over the years but in a nutshell the main emphasis centres on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques.

My love for taekwondo has seen me take part in other martial art sports.

Which other martial arts sports have you been involved in?

I've competed in kickboxing, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts.

David, can you give me an insight into those sports?

Kickboxing is with the hands and feet, while hands, feet, elbows and knees are used in Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts are no holes barred events.

My love for martial arts has developed so much, I decided to take the plunge and open a full-time business in Warrnambool last October. I've found martial arts has a lot to do with physical and mental discipline.

What sort of people have you attracted to the business?

I've got people from all walks of life. There are people who are involved just to keep fit and have a bit of fun to others that want to learn self defence moves.

I've got a lot of people who are training for upcoming competitions and young people that may be rising stars.

Have you sustained many injuries in martial arts?

I've had a couple over the years including bruised shins and a dislocated left shoulder from Muay Thai. I broke my left foot when I was training for mixed martial arts.

When you consider how many events that I have competed in, and the amount of training, the injuries are not that many for the hours that I've put in.

David, before you opened your business last year. Where did you work?

I worked at Brophy House for four years. I helped run an activities program and was an events co-ordinator.  

I really loved helping out the people, as they tried to find their different paths in life but I was very passionate about martial arts so that's why I opened up the school.

What would be the eldest age of a client at your martial arts school?

I've got one person there that is 62-years-old. They are there to improve and maintain their fitness bases.

We also have a six-year-old who is learning martial arts and there are plenty of other people in various age groups that take part in weekly classes.