Extreme fitness? You bet!

Extreme fitness? You bet!


WHERE’S THE PUNCH?  Kickboxing can make you fit and flexible. It  improves your breathing too.

A young man in his thirties is kicking and punching with full concentration. He kicks high, but not as high as his trainer wants him to. Yet trainer Hemanth Kumar is happy, for three months ago the young man, Vijender, a senior sales executive, could hardly lift his legs off the ground.

Hemanth, who has been a medal winner at both the Asian Games and the World Championships, has been training young professionals like Vijender at Xtreme Muay Thai Academy since over a year. An avid practitioner of martial arts, he learnt muay thai in Thailand, the country of its origin, and has been using it as a fitness tool since.

“Regular workouts do help to reduce weight and improve fitness levels. But incorporating martial art forms into the workout not only offers weight loss, fitness and flexibility but also teaches people a form of self-defense,” says Hemanth.

In order to satisfy demands for novelty, health clubs and gyms are offering something new and relevant to satiate the growing appetite for exciting fitness routines.

Across Bangalore, young fitness buffs are going through the moves with zest. And the payoff? A workout that one enthusiast says makes her feel “confident and fit” to defend herself if need be. (If you must know, she carries a pepper spray in her purse as well!)
Kickboxing, tai chi, muay thai or body combat are now taught as part of unique workouts.

Although Bangalore has yet to catch up with the latest in fitness like Samurai sword classes and trapeze workouts, what’s being offered today would not have been imagined a few years ago.

Martial arts in workouts cannot really be called unorthodox. Ashwin Mohan, Chief Coach of Independent Shootfighters, says regular fitness routines can do just that much but techniques such as kickboxing can shape you in places that usual workouts cannot.

“Gym instructors ask us to prepare modules that can be used as fitmess workouts and we also give gym trainers orientation classes. But there are really no shortcuts for those who want to learn kickboxing,” Ashwin says.

He also teaches Indian-style kickboxing known as ‘Adi Murai’ that is said to have originated from Siddha medicine.

“Adi Murai was not meant for the soldiers in the army. It was more for the civilians, who were taught this for self-defense. From six to sixty, I have students in all age groups although 70 per cent are men and just 30 per cent, women. These classes build strength, courage and self confidence,” Ashwin adds.

Kickboxing can also make the person fit and flexible in a short span of time. This is something that Raj Shekar (40), an IT professional, vouches for.

“I lost considerable weight and I feel very comfortable to bend, lift my arms and stretch — things that I could not do two months ago,” he says.

“There are about six to eight people who weighed between 95-120 kg and have lost significant weight in a short time,” says Hemanth. According to him, cardio exercises fashioned from the martial arts are highly effective and depending on the tempo and the power, 15-50 kicks can burn 200-1000 calories.

“What happens is that the kicks alone give a good workout for the legs, waist, core muscles, shoulders, eyes and the mind. Breathing too improves. All this happens in a short period of time,” Hemanth says.    

Ashwin says he has decided to do away with rules in the kickboxing sessions he teaches.
“I let the fight continue till one of the combatants gives up. This builds self-confidence, courage and strength in the participants,” he observes.

Offered at the various branches of Gold’s Gym, body combat is an empowering aerobics/cardio workout that has found favour with the young crowd.

Among the people who do body combat, is Sonia Shetty, a 30-year-old advertising professional. “I don’t really like working out, so I am always looking at something different to do,” she says. “This is the way I like to keep fit.”

According to Prarthana, manager of Gold’s Gym, body combat is a 60-minute aerobics workout incorporated with martial art moves drawn from a wide array of disciplines like karate, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. “Instead of the regular aerobics moves, there are kicks and punches. This is a unique programme that gives regular benefits of a cardio workout and strengthens the core muscles,” she explains.

Tai chi, a familiar sight in the Far East, is picking up in Bangalore. Cicily Thomas is a tai chi instructor who has taught this form to all age groups. Tai chi imitates the movements of birds and animals and is best done outdoors. Currently, it is also taught at Alliance Francaise in Bangalore, where a group does the kinesthetic activity with gentle movements.

A stark contrast is La Parkour, an interesting and demanding form of movement. According to Ashwin, “La Parkour originated in France and basically teaches how to escape if attacked by a group of people. It is nothing but the art of running away!” One is taught to run from point to point, irrespective of obstacles by climbing, jumping and running. An hour’s workout of La Parkour when combined with kickboxing can burn 800 calories.

Even if the mastery of martial arts skips most of us, workouts that incorporate martial arts moves can make us fighting fit.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)