Family Business – Josh Scida
“I started fighting when I was eighteen, but I’ve been training since forever.”
There wouldn’t be a time when Josh Scida hadn’t been soaking up kickboxing, even in the cradle. John, Josh’s father, is one of Australian kickboxing’s most venerated trainers. He has seen the sport change from a back-alley affair, barely recognised as something up from street-fighting, to his days as a disciple of Zen Do Kai. Bob Jones integrated Thai boxing with more traditional martial arts to produce a style defined by its practicality and effectiveness. Courtesy of Jones, kickboxing became the natural extension of that style and Scida, as a trainer, was probably the first to make a significant mark. Names such as Vella and Behic were tossed around the Scida household long before they grew into reputations across Victoria and then the country.
“Dad would have been my number one influence, but there was always Jenk [Behic] and Anthony [Vella],” Josh recalls. “I really admired their charisma; the way they were in the ring. They loved to fight.” Josh also spent a lot of time growing up around John’s other famous fighter, Jason Tramsek. “Jason and I worked together as bricklayers; we did our apprenticeship together. We did a lot of training together also, but it was hard to spar because he was so much bigger.”
Many would assume that having John as a father first and a trainer second would make life easier for an aspiring fighter. For Josh, however, it has been the opposite. “There’s not a lot of benefits. If anything, it’s harder; a lot harder because of expectations. Everyone thinks I get an easy ride. I have to train extra hard to make the fights easier.” It seems to be working thus far; Josh has an impressive record of eleven fights for eleven wins, with eight of them finishing by way of KO. “I might fight K1 rules, but I won’t fight Thai,” he says. “I don’t train it, so I can’t see myself actually doing it any time soon.”
Early on in his career Josh distinguished himself as a boxer, something John had also been able to do. One of the highlights of John’s Christmas break-up parties for his gym is when he has pulled on gloves with the immensely talented Amanda Graver, kickboxer-turned-stuntwoman, and done a few exhibition rounds. “I used to think my strongest skill was my hands,” says Josh, “but the last two fights, I stopped my opponents with my leg kicks.”
Josh has to work hard to strike an effective balance between his training and working lives. He has worked as a concreter for the last three years and was a bricklayer before that. “I try and train six days a week. I go straight from work to the gym. It can become exhausting, trying to fit it in with a girlfriend and everything else.” One would expect that with such success so early and the benefits of such a strong kickboxing gym behind him, Josh might be pushing hard for a professional career. At twenty four years of age however, he seems more philosophical. “It’s a bit of fun, more than anything else. I’ll just see where it takes me.”
The conversation soon returns to John and his role in his son’s preparation. “He’s always there; holding pads for me, watching over my training, getting me ready for the night.” I ask Josh whether or not his father handles him differently; whether or not watching his own flesh and blood up there is a difficult experience. “I think Dad would prefer if I didn’t fight, but he has to put up with it.”