Joey Noon will be donning the green and gold as part of the Australian Kung Fu Wushu Sanda team to compete at the World Championships in September.
The Kumiai-Ryu Martial Arts fighter has been selected as part of a five person squad to compete in Kazan, Russia next month.
Originally invented by the Chinese military, Sanda has developed into a very popular fighting style, particularly throughout Asia and in Europe.
Australia is currently ranked 13th in the world and Australian team coach, Lithgow’s Robert Williams, is expecting big things from his team.
The team will boast an ex-Lithgow fighter, Jenni Alderson, who now lives in Newcastle.
The championships will draw together representatives from 121 countries for the knockout competition over eight gruelling days.
Noon was drawn to Sanda for its non-stop action, similar to kickboxing, but including throws, tackles and takedowns.
Noon, who has played with the Workies Wolves and boxed as a teenager, was selected to compete after his performance at the NSW Sanda competition held in April 2016.
He joined Lithgow’s Kumiai-Ryu Martial Arts two years ago and he said, “just fell in love with it”.
“I like the close range intensity of it,” Noon said.
“You can’t just prance around, dance around and that suits me. To get points, you have to land solid punches and kicks. There’s no point sparring.”
There are also points for throwing an opponent off the 8m by 8m raised fighting platform, which is 800mm off the ground, onto the outer mats. There are no ropes. Each bout has three rounds.
Noon has been working to come in the under 90kg weight category, sweating off 7kg in the last five weeks.
“I just had to cut down, clean the diet up – it’s amazing what you can lose if you just eat better,” he said.
“I’ve been training hard to get ready.”
Competitors are weighed in every day of the competition.
“It's tough because you don’t want to lose too much weight, you still want to be at the top end of the weight range,” Noon said.
“Two or three kilos makes a big difference.
“I want to see how my abilities go against the best in the world.”
Lithgow has had a representative at the World Championships every year since 2009, with John Bennett claiming a bronze medal in 2015.
The Australian team, minus Noon who has work commitments, will be taking part in a training camp in Thailand from September 5-15 in the lead-up to the world championships.
“Sanda has become very popular. It’s dramatic, it looks great, it’s very competitive, particularly in China,” Coach Williams said.
After the World Championships, the competitors will be shaping up for the state competition on the Central Coast in October, followed by the Australian championships in May 2018.
Noon is looking for supporters to sponsor his trip to Russia for the world champs. He invited anyone interested in discussing it with him to email firstname.lastname@example.org.