Fitness or Martial Arts

Recently, my wife and I decided to begin a new program at our martial arts school.  This program is called Empower Boxing and we will officially launch it May 1, 2013 but in the meantime we have a number of events planned to get us rolling.  It is going to be a new avenue to our business but the question is; does this count as a martial art or as a fitness class?

I will say that I have thought long and hard about this topic and have come to the conclusion that it is a martial art class with a large fitness component.  Our current Taekwondo classes are about teaching traditional basic material like one step defenses, kicking combinations, and forms.  We get fitness through the training but also spend a great deal of time with the fitness component in the beginning of our classes.  It is a martial art and I love it, I will never stop teaching it.  The focus for this class has been children and adult men, it almost always has.  The new program we are going to start is different in some ways but not in all.  First, it is still teaching martial arts skills, they are learning about the basic kicking and punching actions with knee and elbow strikes.  There are self-defense skills to teach in class as we will take about much of the information I teach in my regular Taekwondo classes.  In addition, they will be learning how to hit an actual target with power and control.  They won’t be hitting just a kick paddle or focus mitts but an actual heavy bag.  If you have ever spent time hitting one of these bags you know how much of a workout it can be while also being the best thing to teach you about hitting correctly.

The target for this class is adult women.  We have never had a large number of women in our programs because traditional martial arts do not appeal to them.  I know it would be fantastic for them but they have not come to the program.  Many women from my experience do not want to wear the uniform and have all the rituals involved in a traditional martial arts class.  Empower Boxing is different in that it is teaching many of the same foundational skills without the rituals.  They get to come when they want to, whenever there is a class and socialize with the same people and have a lot of fun while learning how to stop someone from hurting them if they get into a physical self-defense situation.  All the kicking is low kicks and front kick, this is what I teach in my self-defense classes and the hand strikes are all simple and effective boxing techniques.  It’s not complicated knife-hand blocks or cat-stance, just a guarding stance and effective striking.  It is going to be amazing for a group of people that really need self-defense and martial arts training but are intimidated by the culture of martial arts!

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