Fearsome foursome

They make an unlikely team - a mother, a pastor, a business owner and a security guard.

To watch them arrive each week, stepping out of their separate cars, toting their separate gym bags and workout gear and everything else that defines them as distinct from each other, you'd think they had little except their destination in common.

But climb the stairs to the top floor of Diverse Extreme Training Centre in Kamloops, where these friends gather every week, and it becomes instantly apparent there is more than a location that unites them.

Angela Busenius, Nolan Clark, Sandy Pembroke and Ty MacDougall, are training partners.

At least twice a week, the four Kamloops residents gather at the McGill Road facility for some of the most intense sparring this side of the Rockies.

"It's been going great," said Busenius, the mother in the foursome.

"It's been lots of fun."

The 28-year-old kickboxer has no qualms about trading jabs and high kicks with her male counterparts as she builds her skills for an upcoming Muay Thai fight in Tacoma, Washington.

In fact, she's been a regular training partner of fellow kickboxer Sandy Pembroke, the business owner, for more than a year.

She helped him train for a title fight in Ontario last winter. Now he's helping her train for a Nov. 21 fight.

"We support each other as much as we possibly can," said Pembroke, who also has a match this month, a heavyweight non-title fight Nov. 27 against the current B.C. champ from Surrey.

Training with Busenius, who packs a mighty force behind her punches and kicks, keeps his skills tuned, said Pembroke.

It also helps to have Clark and MacDougall in the mix, he added - Clark for his ground skills and MacDougall, an amateur golden gloves champ, for his boxing ability.

The 39-year-old Clark is the sole MMA fighter in the foursome.

And the pastor.

When he isn't in the gym trading punches with his three sparring partners, the six-foot-two middleweight leads The Feast Community Church in Kamloops, where he preaches about spirituality and fellowship - two things he finds equally in combat sports.

"These guys here . . . when we spar, we spar really hard," said Clark.

"But I think a lot of people don't realize there's a brotherhood in the martial arts community, even with people you compete against. There's a real honour and respect. It's a rough sport, but I think there's a misunderstanding that it's fuelled by rage and anger."

Clark's record is 6-and-5 in the ring and he had hoped to add another win to that at King of the Cage in Vernon Nov. 28, but a last-minute change left him off the fight card.

Still, Clark was training hard this week, countering some heavy punches from MacDougall, the security guard, and checking solid leg kicks as the pair sparred hard at the gym.

Staying in top form means they'll both be ready when the next fight comes.

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