A LESMURDIE teenager who took up kickboxing after struggling with schoolyard bullying and a family tragedy is making waves in the world of martial arts, taking out her weight division at the WA State Championships last month.
Kaelee Mallard (17) moved from the Mid-West town of Carnarvon to the Hills and started training at a martial arts centre in Walliston in 2013.
“I moved at the end of Year 8 because I was being bullied by girls at my school,” she said.
“I was fighting in and out of school and wasn’t spending much time in the classroom because of suspension.
“I then moved to Lesmurdie and stayed with my Aunty Cindy Malthouse.”
Kaelee said not long after moving, her older brother died in a car accident.
“I shut everyone out,” she said.
“My Aunty Cindy convinced me to try out a muay thai class at Kalamunda Kickboxing and Martial Arts run by Murray McKechnie to get out my anger, frustration and upset.”
Kaelee said kickboxing had helped her turn her life around.
“I was doing it for fun for about a year until I was asked if I wanted to join the fighter class, which I was stoked about,” she said. “Currently I am training seven hours a week under world champion Bruce ‘Preacher’ Macfie, who has competed in 161 fights and is a five times world champion.
“It has also challenged me physically and mentally, and made me fitter, healthier and more disciplined. Muay Thai is making me more confident from teaching kids kickboxing classes to fighting in front of a crowd.”
Kaelee said she had aspirations to join the police force when she finished Year 12.
“I want to help others in bad situations and show people that if you believe, you can achieve,” she said. “Becoming a police officer will build up my confidence and make me more assertive.”
Mr McKechnie said Kaelee was a positive role model for indigenous women.
“She is setting a great standard and is a very well liked kid,” he said. “When she’s ready, she can start working for an Australian championship.”