FITNESS - CARDIO TRAINING
Don’t despise cardio training.
I have seen on web threads and articles several harsh, baseless and unjustified critics of cardio kickboxing. It’s often loathed as a commercially oriented class and if not referred to as useless, it’s always depicted as not being related to martial arts. I have a totally different opinion on that issue.
Well of course, regular cardio boxing classes in large commercial gyms are usually bad. They are over-crowded, mainly oriented towards aerobics and do not offer a complete workout. The coach stands on a small stage and shouts orders in a wireless microphone – follows who can – ending up in a few people up front doing proper moves, and the rest 20 or 30 people on the back trying to copy – quite badly…
Stuck on the stage, the coach cannot correct people individually. It’s not only bad workout, it may sometimes lead to injuries.
In a dojo instead, classes can be limited to a small number of people (of course it won’t make a large income) so the coach can move around and care for everyone separately -- an easy task if an assistant can keep leading the class through the workout. Exercises can me more martial arts oriented and the class can be broken into 4 parts: warm-up, muscular training, aerobic and warm-down-stretching. Series are designed to be effective martial arts combinations. The results are amazingly rewarding, and anyone who has joined a good cardio-kickboxing class will confirm that it’s not only a great workout; it helps students in many ways; and besides the obvious muscle/cardio benefits, those into striking martial arts will improve their work considerably: stance, moves, speed, strength, accuracy and resistance. In a dojo, students not only kick and punch in the air; there are series designed for people to punch/kick bags, and others that have them paired and work 2 by 2 sparring on pads. The class can also include circuit training. The musical background avoids sloppiness and laziness and forces students to keep up with the rhythm.
I have taught cardio classes to all levels of students for many years (in addition to regular martial arts classes). Some were just middle-aged moms looking to get in shape, and some were Muaythai kick boxers. The benefits of cardio-kickboxing have been obvious and for those doing martial arts, it considerably improved their work on the mat. So do not despise cardio kickboxing. It won’t teach you to fight, but if done in a proper environment and under qualified supervision, it can be a great addition to your regular training.