No piece of wisdom goes to waste at the Chemical and Process Engineering Student Research Group (KN IChiP). The accumulated knowledge and experience pass from generation to generation of members. Perhaps, this is the key to the growing popularity of their annual multidisciplinary European Young Engineers Conference. We sat to talk about this event with Olga (Coordinator of the 8th EYEC), Justyna (Social Media Coordinator and Board Member of KN IChiP) and Hania (Logistics Coordinator).
He has a wealth of stories about his family, whose fortunes have often intertwined with the troubled history of Poland. His track record as a scholar spans 44 years. He has played the harmonica in Thailand, the USA and Switzerland. Who is this mystery man and what does he have to do with WUT’s social media?
It is usually singers and dancers that are in the spotlight performing on stage. But where would the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Warsaw University of Technology be without music played live? This is where the band comes in. Let us get to know them!
What do the Alumni of the Warsaw University of Technology do for a post-uni career? How do they fare on the labor market and what university experiences do they draw on, moving forward? Read the stories of people working for Hyper Poland, a company with its roots at the WUT Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering, which has grown into the most technologically advanced Hyperloop technology company in today’s Europe, working hard on the implementation of this hi-tech mode of transport in Poland.
In a few days, students of the Warsaw University of Technology are going off to California but not for holiday; instead, they will be working hard. They will spend the time improving and testing the aircraft they have designed and built over the last few months. All must be ready to the last gaiter button for SAE Aero Design, a competition for student teams from all over the world.
My name is Aleksander Kalicki and I am a professional kickboxer. I am on the National Team and represent the Warsaw University of Technology Academic Sports Club (AZS PW). What were my first steps in this sport?
It was primary school. Those were the days before the massive Internet frenzy. No one would get stuck in front of the computer and almost all kids would play outside after school. At the time, I had a couple of friends who went to trainings too. I remember being quite envious of them but I had extra English classes on my plate. Then I took a bold decision to quit English and go to kickboxing classes instead. I spent the money designated for tutoring to buy a monthly training membership and my first pair of gloves. Parents knew nothing, of course.
Back in my hometown, I only trained for pleasure. In 2012, I arrived in Warsaw for studies; my pick was the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. After class all fellow students in my group would head in one direction: to a party! But that kind of lifestyle did not work for me; I needed a higher goal. This was when I decided to go into sports. The mandatory PE classes made it easier for me, giving me a chance to go back to kickboxing. I started to train quite intensively and got incredibly involved in my workouts. At one practice, out coach Krzysztof Kaproń asked “Who wants to go to the National Cup?” I volunteered without a moment’s hesitation. And this is how it all started for me.
My day starts at the same time every day. I wake up at 7 o’clock sharp. Napping? That is out of question! If I oversleep, I will have no time for breakfast and fasted training simply means wasted training and the rest of the day too.
Every other step of my daily routine is carefully planned well in advance just as mornings are. As tough as it may sound, there is no room for ad hoc decisions. Any deviation from the regime or shortcoming will show in the ring. The other guy works just as hard as I do and it is the details that determine win or defeat.
During the week, I seek to complete 12 workout sessions and use my Sundays to regenerate. I go running, do stretching or go to a swimming pool. People think: “He’s one lucky guy in life! A few hours of exercises and he is done.” It is true I have quite a lot of time but my every hour is planned in advance.
Going out with my sister? Sure, I am in! We make an arrangement at a two weeks’ notice; that is the only way for me to save a date. Going away to visit my parents? No problem there; a weekend in a month is booked. An invitation from my friends to come? I do show up but I am the first to leave.
I go to bed at 11:00 p.m. Before that, I recap the day with my fiancée and we make plans for what is ahead of me.
Although it all may sound like complaining, I love my daily routine, I really do. I love what I do and I know that the journey to my goal runs along a steep winding road uphill. But the prize, which is a fight in the ring, is absolutely worth the effort.
Before a bout
I need two months to prepare for a bout thoroughly. Injuries are a common thing in this sport, so from time to time one contender gets forced out of the game sending promoters and matchmakers to look for a last-minute replacement. Regular trainings keep me in shape at all times and thus I can afford to accept an offer like this if one unexpectedly comes up. However, I usually get a several months’ notice of a fight.
I use this time to hone the details and work out my opponent. The closer the bout, the stronger my will to fight and put my new skillset to test.
Eventually comes the moment of the official weigh-in. This is the first time I come face to face with my opponent.
What you can see in the media, all the trash talk and pushing and shoving or fighters crossing the line at some weigh-ins is usually meant to drive audiences, hardly anything more than that. Fortunately, kickboxing does not go that way. There are no heated face-offs between the opponents; we virtually all know each other, have already trained with each other or have been on the same camps. We know we will fight against each other one day soon so we feel respect for each other. Aggression is let out in the ring and stays in the ring.
The day approaching
On the day of the bout I totally focus on resting and getting my mind off thinking about the night. Anxiety lurks only in the hall when I can see the ring and the whole setting. And then my inner coach comes in giving me a pep talk. Luckily, this really does the job and helps me get braced for the fast approaching storm of emotions that I am about to tackle.
The gala begins. The main hall goes wild and loud. Pyrotechnic shows, performances and VIP entertainment are staged. Meanwhile, we are in the changing rooms with our teams warming up in silence. All happens as if in fast-motion.
A cutman wrapping bandages, some interview, warm-up and kick shield drilling with the coach. And, all of the sudden, here I stand with hostesses at my sides, speakers fill the place with my tune and off I go to the ring. It is show time!
People are curious if you can feel any pain in the ring. It is said you do not because adrenaline is at play. Indeed, you can feel nothing for the first 20 seconds but then you start to get funny sensations. You will understand only if you experience it for yourself.
Punches on the torso are very unpleasant, but getting hit on the liver is the nastiest thing. You fall to the floor but, unfortunately, you remain fully conscious, which makes you get some extraordinary feeling, like in “Alien”. You have to defend yourself.
Kicks — I make sure to kick with the tibia. If my opponent attacks my torso, I defend myself with my forearms, but it is a painful solution in the long run and you need to fight back. You have to be either very clever or very brave throughout the bout and save the tears for after the whole thing. Accuracy is essential because a few centimeter miss may end nasty for your bones.
The bout in itself is a bundle of your reflexes, or responses preprogrammed during hundreds of hours of training.
My face always beams with a smile after a fight, no matter if the referee raises my hand or my contender’s. I know, I have done a good job; I can hear it from the cheering crowd. I have stood up to the challenge. And this is the finest moment.
The waves of pain come just after the bout sometimes making it hard to leave the ring. The morning after, right after waking up, is still worse but that is a whole different story.
Defeats and injuries
Sports brings great moments and memories. But all is kept in check and balance by defeats, injuries and disappointments. The higher you are up the sports career ladder, the harder it gets. I never worry about losing; I only make sure I have learned my lessons. I lost my first fight but it only seeded my obsession to get better.
Injuries are much worse than that. The most serious injury happened to me couple of months ago and I still have half a year of recovery to go. I cannot train or work as a coach. This experience has provided me with some good food for thought but it has also driven me to act. I have plenty of sports plans and projects that are just waiting for me to fully recover.
I owe all this to the people who are there for me. My coach, Krzysztof Kaproń, my teacher who guides me in my athlete journey. My family and my loved one – they believe in me even if the reason tells me otherwise. My sponsors as I would not be able to balance my daily life responsibilities with training without them. And my fans, of course; thank you for all your support!
If you are interested in combat sports, come and check out our WUT kickboxing room. We have excellent coaches (Jacek Urbańczyk and Krzysztof Kaproń), who will push you to the limits! 😉
With sports regards,
Aleksander Kalicki is a winner of several titles, including:
Vice World Champion Muay Thai, Bangkok (2015);
Europe’s Cup Low Kick (2016);
Baltic Cup K1 (2018);
Poland’s National Champion K-1 (2016);
Two-time Poland’s National Champion Muay Thai (2013; 2016); and
Four-time Poland’s Student National Champion (2012; 2016).
He has fought professionally for DSF Kickboxing Challenge Federation for two years.
For some, studies are mainly about learning and attending lectures and practice classes. But for others it is just a fraction of what you can experience at the University. We have sit with Maciej Pietrukiewicz, once an active member of the Independent Students’ Association at WUT and now an influencer marketing expert, to talk about the great adventure of having been part of WUT and student organizations and media.