One of the most popular sports in Thailand, this is a form of self defence, combining punching and kicking
Melissa Van Maasdyk
What is it? One of the most popular sports in Thailand, this is a form of self defence, combining punching and kicking.
Where? Reza’s Martial Art Centre.
How it promises to transform your body Apart from being a fantastic stress-buster, it’s a very good way to tone the waist, arms and legs and build your core strength. A number of members of Reza’s also claim to have dropped several kilos without even noticing, because they were having so much fun.
So what happens? The class is taken by Wesch, a former Thai kickboxing fighter who’s been practising the art as a professional fighter in Thailand since he was seven and has the hard, tough body to prove it. Since he’s a man of few words, it’s a case of watch and follow. The class begins with a jog around the sponge-floored room, followed by some warm-up exercises in which you strike the boxer pose (one foot in front and slightly bent, hands up near the ears in protective mode) and then move backwards and forwards, jabbing and kicking in a kind of boxing line dance, but with no music. This is followed by a gruelling sit-up and press-up session, before the real fun begins when you don gloves and engage in some punching and kicking. After Wesch demonstrates several techniques, class members take turns practising one-on-one with him, punching, kicking and kneeing the pads he holds up in different positions, while the rest of the class practises on punch bags. The one-on-one portion was tiring, but challenging and fun, and such a stress release.
The verdict I left the class feeling completely worked over, exhilarated and keen to return, and the feedback from other class members was extremely positive. School teacher Michelle Elsbury, for example, has been going to Reza’s since November and has lost 10kg. She puts this down to the fact that she enjoys it so much that it doesn’t feel like exercising, and she actually wants to go every day. She also likes the fact that success relies on strategy as well as strength, so that she can compete with men in the mixed class on an equal footing. Reza’s Martial Art Centre, Diraz (17 694 646 or 39 465 754). Open Sat-Thu 3pm-8.30pm. Three classes daily. BD25 per month for three classes per week.