From being pro fighter to working in sports tech – how did this happen?
One thing I know from being an elite sportsman most of my life is that to be successful you need to be passionate.
— Damon Sansum
After a great professional Taekwondo career for 9years I decided to hang up my gloves, and foot pads. During my amazing journey with Team GB I secured 2 World Championship medals, a European silver medal, 3 World Taekwondo Grand Prix medals and a Commonwealth title. Life as an athlete was second nature to me, however, it was time to step out of the bubble and into society. I was unsure what direction I wanted to go in but one thing for certain was that I wanted to be involved in the Martial Arts. Literally hours after I announced my retirement I had a Linkd in message from Jan-Eric Wargelin, one of the founders of Kick.Ai. After back and forth conversations and checking out Kick.Ai online I was sent a consumer product to have a look at.
I have seen many martial arts training tools and gimmicks over the years so it was safe to say I was sceptical, it also safe to say I was completely wrong! First impressions of the product was the packaging and presentation, it was very sleek and professional with both the App Store and Playstore logos displayed on the front. Inside the box was two lightweight ankle straps accompanied with two sensors and a user manual. Once the sensors were fully charged it was time to see what this baby could do!
After hours of kicking and seeing Kick.Ai’s full potential I was blown away with the product. Where do I start? It can measure reaction time, velocity of kicks, speed training and differentiate the percentage of work rate in conditioning training. It also lets you know how many left leg and right leg kicks you do per round or session, maybe if I had Kick.Ai when I was competing my right leg might have been better!haha. This is all displayed on the app that is in sync with your training for constant feedback and data collection. There are also interactive sessions you can do on the app, great for both seniors and youngsters at any level of ability. I genuinely wish I had found this product earlier in my career.
Fast forward 2 weeks and I am flying out to Helsinki to meet the Kick.Ai team. We drove up to a remote part of eastern Finland, very close to the Russian border and spent 3 days getting to know each other. Sharing ideas and planning world domination in a beautiful cottage. The team is comprised of a group of very highly skilled individuals from top notch developers, to very impressive creative designers. All of which, like myself, have a passion for martial arts.
One thing I know from being an elite sportsman most of my life is that to be successful you need to be passionate. After meeting the Kick.Ai team it was obvious that we shared the same vision, a passion to help martial artist improve their skills through the use of advanced technology. Advanced technology that has an actual use for both recreational and elite athletes. I have always wanted to create something similar to Kick.Ai in the past but I didn’t have the means or knowledge to do so, after meeting Kick.Ai it is surely a partnership meant to be.